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[70]

And what was true in the days of the Roman is now written legibly upon the soil of your own Virginia. A traveller in your state, in contemplating the decline of its agriculture, has justly remarked that, ‘if the miserable condition of the negro had left his mind for reflection, he would laugh in his chains to see how slavery has stricken the land with ugliness.’

Is the rapid increase of a population of slaves in itself no evil? In all the slave states the increase of the slaves is vastly more rapid than that of the whites or free blacks. When we recollect that they are under no natural or moral restraint, careless of providing food or clothing for themselves or their children; when, too, we consider that they are raised as an article of profitable traffic, like the cattle of New England and the hogs of Kentucky; that it is a matter of interest, of dollars and cents, to the master that they should multiply as fast as possible, there is surely nothing at all surprising in the increase of their numbers. Would to heaven there were also nothing alarming!

7. Because, by the terms of the national compact, the free and the slave states are alike involved in the guilt of maintaining slavery, and the citizens of the former are liable, at any moment, to be called upon to aid the latter in suppressing, at the point of the bayonet, the insurrection of the slaves.

Slavery is, at the best, an unnatural state. And Nature, when her eternal principles are violated, is perpetually struggling to restore them to their first estate.


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