previous next

Virginia when abolitionized.

The annihilation of slave property in St. Domingo, in 1791, reduced the sugar product of that prolific island from 163,405,220 lbs. in that year, to 652,541 lbs. in 1882; producing a loss per annum in one crop of one hundred and sixty-three millions of pounds. In consequence of the annihilation of slave property in the British West Indies, in 1831, the export of the chief staples of those colonies fell off, in ten years, from four hundred and ten to two hundred and fifteen millions pounds of sugar; from eight to two and three-quarter millions gallons of rum; and from twenty to ten millions pounds of coffee. In these instances, the negro was merely set free, but remained in the islands, still as capable of producing crops by his labor as before, and still tilling the ground under all the incentives of self-interest. If the negroes had been driven forth from the islands into the sea, or transported back to the jungles of Africa, the whole trade in their productions would have been annihilated in a day. Such an exile of the negroes would have been even more deplorable in effect than their emancipation. Submission, by Virginia, and affiliation with the North, exiles her slaves, stampedes their owners, and brings a destruction upon Eastern Virginia doubly more desolating than that with which a remorseless mother country enshrouded the fairest islands of the main.

By submission, Virginia not only covers herself with ruin, but fixes upon herself a poverty beyond retrieve. For, no country that has ever existed upon the globe, employing voluntary labor, has grown wealthy in capital, or great in power, by means of that labor. The free laborer will not toil with his own hands, except for a subsistance. He taxes his ingenuity to the utmost after profit which is the product of the labor of others; but for surplus products beyond his wants, he will not manually toil himself. The only countries that have ever produced surplus products for commerce, except those that have invested large capital in machinery, are the countries that have employed enforced involuntary labor. The case of England is a signal instance of the fact. England is but a counting-room for India and the West Indies. When she conquered Hindustan, where two hundred millions of slaves had toiled during countless ages for local despots, she seized and brought home two thousand millions of dollars, the accumulation of those ages. Behold the source from which she obtained one-third of that money-capital with which she now rules the commerce of the globe. Her profits from her possessions in the West Indies before emancipation, and from the 1,728,000 Africans imported into America under her auspices up to 1800, are estimated jointly at thirty-six hundred millions of dollars; so that, of the wealth of England, five thousand six hundred millions of dollars are the direct product of slavery. But for this now repudiated institution that proud island would now be as poor and feeble as Spain has long been, Mexico is, and Virginia will be, when abolitionized.

Strike from the tables of Virginia commerce the tobacco, wheat, and corn which her slaves produce, and you virtually obliterate those tables outright; for all else are but as offshoots and parasites upon those main trunks of her trade. With these staples gone, her cash income ceases, her money disappears, and a miserable system of barter takes place in all the dealings of her citizens. It is only the individuals who sell surplus produce that have money at command. How many of the farmers of Virginia sell five hundred dollars' worth of such produce in the year, not the product of slave labor? As with the community individually, so it is with the community as a whole, except with aggravation.--Virginia, having no produce, to send out for sale, would have no money returns coming in; without exports, she would be without income. Down, then, would tumble her whole banking system, the breath of whose existence is the cash proceeds of her export sales. With the winding up of the banks would come an immense indebtedness for collection against the customers of these institutions, amounting to twenty millions of dollars; and along with the debts would come the lawyer, the sheriff and the auctioneer's hammer. Indebtedness, bank indebtedness especially, can only be paid with money, and there would be no money after the loss of trade and the fall of banks. The only crop which Virginia, abolitionized and submitting, would produce in unprecedented and universal redundance, would be the crop of bankruptcy. This would strike its roots deep into the community — would wave its luxuriant foliage far and wide over the land — would spread its rich and heavy harvest around every homestead and hovel.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
West Indies (3)
Virginia (Virginia, United States) (1)
Mexico (Mexico, Mexico) (1)
Dominican Republic (Dominican Republic) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1882 AD (1)
1831 AD (1)
1800 AD (1)
1791 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: