Evidently, there had been no extensive sale of slaves to the South
The 17 slaves disappeared, and: the free increased 302.
Here, too, there could have been no sale of slaves to the South
In fact, no slaves were ever held by the people of Vermont
, under the laws of that State.
The 17, in 1790, if not a mistake, must have been there temporarily, for some peculiar reason.
From 1790 to 1800, the number of slaves diminished 571, and the number of the free, 165; and of the total, 736.
This may look, at first sight, as if about one-eightieth part of the slaves at the North
had been virtually sold to the South
; but, fortunately, we are able to explain it. The diminution of the free, 165, indicates an emigration; and we know, from the census of Massachusetts
, that the increase of free blacks in that State, during those ten years, was about 715 above the average rate of increase.
In New Bedford, they increased from 38 to 160; in Nantucket
, from 110 to 228; in Duke's County
, from 83 to 202; in Suffolk County
the increase was 407.
There was a great flocking to the whaling ports and to Boston
, to engage as seamen.
These 715 must have come from somewhere, and there is no indication in the census of any other State of a corresponding loss.
On the contrary, as we shall see, there was a similar migration into Connecticut
If, of the 3,469 who were free in 1790, 715 migrated to Massachusetts
, the number remaining would be only 2,754, instead of 3,304, leaving 550 places of free men to be supplied by emancipation.
And such, nearly, was doubtless the fact.
For the next ten years, the increase of the free is greater than the decrease of slaves.
The decrease of slaves from 1790 to 1800 was 1,808; and the increase of the free was 2,529; that is, 721 more than the decrease of slaves.
There had evidently been an immigration into Connecticut
, as well as Massachusetts
; but much of it probably came from New York, though not improbably some of it was from Rhode Island
So, in the succeeding decades, the increase of the free is greater than the decrease of slaves.
In every decade while slaves remained, the increase of the free was greater than the decrease of slaves.
There could have been no sale of the slaves to the South
All that became free, and more, were added to the number of the free.
Here, too, every decrease of slaves was attended by an increase, more than equivalent, of the free.
There was no sale to the South
Here, too, the increase of the free always exceeds the decrease of the slaves.
There has been no diminution of the total, such as must have been caused by a general sale of slaves to the South
It stands out plainly, on the face of these tables, that emancipation, in most of the Northern States
, has been a gradual work, spread out over about half a century.
So far as effected by legislation, it has been conducted on what is called “the post nati
principle,” that those born after a certain date shall be free at a certain age. This plan was adopted, in part, for the sake of obliging those who had profited by the labor of slaves while able to labor, to support them in their old age and decrepitude.
Such an operation is very different from that which Mr. Davis
charges upon “the North
It is obvious, too, from the number of free blacks in the several States in 1790, that the work of emancipation, without sale to “the South
,” was already far advanced.
In every State except.
New York and New Jersey
, it was more than half done; for the free were more numerous than the slaves.
This, too, utterly disproves the assertion of Mr. Davis
, that the Northern
movement began “soon after” 1789.
Even in 1787, when the Constitution of the United States
was formed, it had been going on for years.
This will be still more evident, when we look at the case of
Slavery was never abolished in Massachusetts
by legislative action.
A State Constitution was