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[36] manumitted and protected; while the master race, alarmed for the safety of their families, were un able or unwilling to enlist in the Continental armies, or even to be called into service as militia.1

The number of slaves in the States respectively, at the time of the Revolution, is not known. But it may be closely approximated by the aid of the census of 1790, wherein the slave population is returned as follows:

North. South.
New Hampshire 158 Delaware 8,887
Vermont 17 Maryland 103,036
Rhode Island 952 Virginia 293,427
Connecticut 2,759 North Carolina 100,572
Massachusetts2 none South Carolina 107,094
New York 21,324 Georgia 29,264
New Jersey 11,423 Kentucky 11,830
Pennsylvania3 3,737 Tennessee 3,417
Total 40,370 Total 657,527

The documents and correspondence of the Revolution are full of complaints by Southern slaveholders of their helplessness and peril, because of Slavery, and of the necessity thereby created of their more efficient defense and protection.4 The New England States, with a population less numerous than that of Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, furnished more than double the number of soldiers to battle for the common cause. The South was repeatedly overrun, and regarded as substantially subdued, by armies that would not have ventured to invade New England, and could not have maintained themselves a month on her soil. Indeed, after Gage's expulsion

1 The number of troops employed by the Colonies during the entire Revolutionary war, as well as the number furnished by each, is shown by the following, which is compiled from statistics contained in a work published by Jacob Moore, Concord, entitled, “Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society for the year 1824,” vol. i., p. 236.

  Continental. Militia.
New Hampshire 12,496 2,093
Massachusetts 68,007 15,155
Rhode Island 5,878 4,284
Connecticut 32,039 7,792
New York 18,331 3,304
New Jersey 10,726 6,055
Pennsylvania 25,608 7,357
Delaware 2,317 376
Maryland 13,912 4,127
Virginia 26,668 5,620
North Carolina 7,263  
South Carolina 6,417  
Georgia 2,679  
Total 232,341 56,163

2 Massachusetts adopted a new State Constitution in 1780, to which a bill of rights was prefixed, which her Supreme Court soon after decided was inconsistent with the maintenance of Slavery, which had been thus abolished.

3 Pennsylvania had passed an act of Gradual Emancipation in 1780.

4 Henry Laurens of South Carolina, two years President of the Continental Congress, appointed Minister to Holland, and captured on his way thither by a British cruiser, finally Commissioner with Franklin and Jay for negotiating peace with Great Britain, on the 14th of August, 1776, wrote from Charleston, S. C., to his son, then in England, a letter explaining and justifying his resolution to stand or fall with the cause of American Independence, in which he said:

You know, my dear son, I abhor Slavery. I was born in a country where Slavery had been established by British kings and parliaments, as by the laws of that country, ages before my existence. I found the Christian religion and Slavery growing under the same authority and cultivation. I nevertheless disliked it. In former days, there was no combating tile prejudices of men supported by interest: the day, I hope, is approaching, when from principles of gratitude, as well as justice, every man shall strive to be foremost in showing his readiness to comply with the golden rule. Not less than twenty thousand pounds sterling would all my negroes produce, if sold at public auction tomorrow. I am not the man who enslaved them; they are indebted to Englishmen for that favor: nevertheless, I am devising means for manumitting many of them, and for cutting off tile entail of slavery. Great powers oppose me,--the laws and customs of my country, my own and the avarice of my countrymen. What will my children say if I deprive them of so much estate? These are difficulties, but not insuperable. I will do as much as I can in my time, and leave the rest to a better hand.

I am not one of those who arrogate the peculiar care of Providence in each fortunate event; nor one of those who dare trust in Providence for defense and security of their own liberty, while they enslave, and wish to continue in slavery, thousands who are as well entitled to freedom as themselves. I perceive the work before me is great. I shall appear to many as a promoter not only of strange, but of dangerous doctrines: it will therefore be necessary to proceed with caution. You are apparently deeply interested in this affair; but, as I have no doubts concerning your concurrence and approbation, I most sincerely wish for your advice and assistance, and hope to receive both in good time.

--Collection of the Zenger Club, pp. 20, 21.

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