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首页 » 英文短篇小说 » A Defence of Virginia » CHAPTER VIII. ECONOMICAL EFFECTS OF SLAVERY.
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We are not propagandists of slavery. The highest wish of Virginia with reference to it was, that now it had been fastened on her against her remonstrances by others, she should be let alone to manage it as she judged the best: a right which had been solemnly pledged to her by her present aggressors. We had no desire to force it on others, or to predict its universal prevalence, as the best organization of society. But having claimed that the Word of God and publick justice authorize it, we admit that it is reasonable we should meet those who assert economical and social results of it so evil, as to render it in credible that a wise and benevolent God should sanction such a mischief. We hope to show that slavery, instead of being wasteful, impoverishing, and mischievous, is so far useful and benevolent as to vindicate the divine wisdom in ordaining it, and to show that we were wisely content with our condition so far as this relation of labour and capital was concerned.

We would also urge this preliminary remark: that the economical effects of American slavery have usually been argued from an amazingly unreasonable point of view. Our enemies persist in discussing it as an election 296 to be made between a system of labour by christianized, enlightened, free yeomen of the same race, on one hand; and a system of labour by African slaves on the other; as though the South had any such election in its power! It was not a thing for us to decide, whether we should have these Africans, or civilized, free, white labour; the former were here; here, not by the choice of our forefathers, but forced upon us by the unprincipled cupidity of the slave-trading ancestors of the Abolitionists of Old and New England who now revile us; forced upon us against the earnest protest of Virginia. Did Abolitionists ever propose a practical mode of removing them, and supplying their places, which would not inflict on both parties more mischief than slavery occasion? They should have showed us some way to charm the four millions of Africans among us, away to some happy Utopia, where they might be more comfortable than we made them; and to repair the shock caused by the abstraction of all this productive labour. Until they did this, the question was not whether it would be wisest for a legislator creating a totally new community, to form it like Scotland or New England; or like Virginia. The true question was, these Africans being here, and there being no humane or practicable way to remove them, what shall be done with them? If the social condition of Virginia exhibited points of inferiority in its system of labour, to that of its rivals, the true cause of the evil was to be sought in the presence of the Africans among us, not in his enslavement. We shall indeed assert, and prove, that these points of inferiority were vastly fewer and smaller than our enemies represent. But, we emphatically repeat, 297 the source of the evils apparent in our industrial system was the presence among us of four millions of heterogeneous pagan, uncivilized, indolent, and immoral people; and for that gigantic evil, slavery was, in part at least, the lawful, the potent, the beneficent remedy. Without this, who cannot see that such an incubus must have oppressed and blighted every interest of the country? Such an infusion must have tainted the sources of our prosperity. It would have been a curse sufficient to paralyze the industry, to corrupt the morals, and to crush the development of any people on earth, to have such a race spread abroad among them like the frogs of Egypt. And that the South not only delivered itself from this fate, but civilized and christianized this people, making them the most prosperous and comfortable peasantry in the world, developed a magnificent agriculture, and kept pace with the progress of its gigantic rival, attests at once the energy of our people, and the wisdom and righteousness of the expedient by which all this has been accomplished
§ 1. Slavery and Republican Government.

Intelligent men at the South found something to reconcile them to their condition, in the wholesome influence of their form of labour, upon their republican institutions. The effect of slavery to make the temper of the ruling caste more honourable, self-governed, reflective, courteous, and chivalrous, and to foster in them an intense love of, and pride in, their free institutions, has been already asserted, and substantiated by resistless facts. The testimony of these facts is concurrent with that of all history. But those qualities 298 are just the ones which fit a people for beneficent self-government. Again: our system disposed, at one potent touch, of that great difficulty which has beset all free governments: the difficulty of either entrusting the full franchises of the ruling caste to, or refusing them to, the moneyless class. The Word of God tells us that the poor shall always be with us. Natural differences of capacity, energy, and thrift, will always cause one part to distance the other part of the society, in the race of acquisition; and the older and denser any population becomes, the larger will be the penniless class, and the more complete their destitution as compared with the moneyed class. Shall they be refused all participation in the suffrage and powers of government? Then, by what means shall the constitution make them secure against the iniquities of class-legislation, which wickedly and selfishly sacrifices their interests and rights to the ruling class? And yet more: by what argument can they be rendered content in their political disfranchisement, when they are of the same race, colour, and class, with their unauthorized oppressors, save as money makes an artificial distinction? The perpetual throes and reluctations of the oppressed class against the oppressors, will agitate and endanger any free government; as witness the strifes of the conservative and radical parties in England, and the slumbering eruptions which the ideas of the democrats of 1848 have kindled under every throne in Western Europe. But on the other hand, if the full franchises of the ruling class be conceded to the moneyless citizens, they seize the balance of power, and virtually hold the reins over the rights, property, and lives of the moneyed 299 classes. But the qualities which have made them continue penniless in a liberal government, together with the pressure of immediate hardship, destitution, ignorance and passion, will ever render them most unsafe hands to hold this power. The man who has "the wolf at his door," who knows not where to-morrow's dinner for his wife and babes is to be obtained, is no safe man to be entrusted with power over others' property, and submitted to all the arts and fiery passions of the demagogue. The inevitable result will be, that his passions will drive him, under the pressure of his destitution, to some of those forms of agrarianism or legislative plunder, by which order and economical prosperity are blighted; and society is compelled, like democratic France and New England, to take refuge from returning anarchy and barbarism, in the despotism of a single will. This truth cannot be more justly stated than in the language of Lord Macaulay, himself once an ardent advocate of British Reform. If the democratic States of America seemed, for a time, to offer an exception to these tendencies, it proves nothing; for in those States, the intense demand for labour, the cheapness of a virgin soil, and the rapid growth of a new and sparse population, rendered the working of the law, for a time, imperceptible. But even there, it had begun to work with a portentous power. Witness the violence and frightful mutations of their parties, the loathsome prevalence of demagogueism, and the great party of free-soil, which is but a form of agrarianism reaching out its plundering hand against the property class across Mason's and Dixon's lines, instead of the property class at home. So completely had the danger we have 300 described been verified, even in these new and prosperous communities, that the moment a serious strain came upon their institutions, the will of the mob burst over constitutions and publick ethics like a deluge, and the pretended republicks rushed into a centralized despotism, with a speed and force which astounded the world. All the pleas of universal suffrage have received a damning and final refutation, from the events of this revolution.

But the solution which Southern institutions gave to this great dilemma of republicks was happy and potent. The moneyless labouring class was wholly disfranchised of political powers, and thus disarmed of its powers of mischief. Yet this was effected without injustice to them, or cruelty; because they were at the same time made parts of the families of the ruling class; and ensured an active protection and competent maintenance, by law, and by motives of affection and self-interest in the masters; which experience proved to be more beneficent in practice to the labouring class, than any political expedient of free countries. The tendency of our African slavery was to diminish, at the same time, the numbers and destitution of the class of white moneyless men, so as to render them a harmless element in the State. It did this by making for them a wider variety of lucrative industrial pursuits; by making acquisition easier for white people; by increasing the total of property, that is to say, of values held as property, vastly, through the addition of the labour of the Africans, and by diffusing a general plenty and prosperity. We very well know that anti-slavery men are accustomed to assert the contrary of all this: but we know also, that 301 they affirm that whereof they know nothing. The census returns of the anti-slavery government of the United States itself stubbornly refute them; showing that the number and average wealth of the property classes at the South were relatively larger, and that white pauperism and destitution were relatively vastly smaller, than at the North. But the violent abolition of slavery here has exploded into thin air every sophism by which it has been argued that it was adverse to the interests of the non-slaveholding whites. The latter have been taught by a hard experience, to know, with a painful completeness of conviction before which the old anti-slavery arguments appear insolent and mocking madness, that they are more injured than the slaveholders. They see, that while the late masters are reduced from country gentlemen to yeomen landholders, they are reduced from a thrifty, reputable middle class, to starving competitors for day labour with still more starving free negroes. The honest abolitionist (if there is such a thing) needs only to take the bitter testimony of the non-slaveholding whites of the South, to unlearn forever this part of his theory. Thus did African slavery among us solve this hard problem; and place before us a hopeful prospect of a long career of freedom and stability.

The comparative history of the free and slaveholding commonwealths of the late United States substantiates every word of the above. The South, as a section, has never, from the foundation of the government, committed itself to any project of unrighteous class legislation, such as tariffs, sectional bounties, or agrarian plunderings of the public domain. The North has been perpetually studying such attempts. The South has 302 ever been remarked, (and strange to say, often twitted,) for the stability and consistency of its political parties. The Northern States have been "all things by turns, and nothing long," save that they have been ever steady in their devotion to their plans of legislative plunder. The South has been a stranger to mobs, rebellions, and fanaticism. When, for instance, the wicked crotchet of Know-nothingism was invented, it seized the brains of the North like an infection. It carried all before it until it came to Virginia, the first of the Southern States which it essayed to enter, when the old Commonwealth quietly arose and placed her foot upon its neck, and the monster expired at once. From the day Virginia cast her vote against it, it never gained another victory, either North or South. But the crowning evidence of the superior stability of our freedom was presented during the recent war. While its stress upon Northern institutions crushed them at once into a pure despotism, the South sustained the tremendous ordeal with the combined energy of a monarchy and the equity of a liberal republick. There was no mob law; no terrorizing of dissentients, no intimidations at elections, nor meddling with their purity and freedom, no infringement of rights by class legislation, no riots nor mobs, save one or two small essays generated by foreigners, and no general suspension of the Habeas Corpus, until the pressure of the war had virtually converted the whole country into a camp: and this, even then, was only enacted by the constitutional authority of the Congress. The liberty of the press and of religion was untouched during the whole struggle. Let the contrast be now drawn. Shall the tree be known by its fruits? 303

We believe, therefore, that we have no cause, in this respect, to lament the condition which Providence had assigned us, in placing this African Race among us. We do not envy the political condition of our detractors, Yankee and British radicals; of the former with their colluvies gentium, the off-scouring of all the ignorance and discontent of Europe, and their frantic agrarianism, which will turn, so soon as it has exhausted its expected prey from the homesteads of Southern planters, to ravage at home; and of the latter, with their disorganizing theories of human right, subversive of every bulwark of the time-honored British Constitution, and their increasing mass of turbulent pauperism.
§ 2. Slavery and Malthusianism.

Taking mankind as they are, and not as we may desire them to be, domestic slavery offered the best relation which has yet been found, between labour and capital. It is not asserted that it would be best for a Utopia, where we might imagine the humblest citizen virtuous, intelligent, and provident. But there are no such societies on earth. The business of the legislator, whether human or divine, is with mankind as they are; and while he adapts his institutions to their defects, so as to avoid making them impracticable or mischievous, he should also shape them to elevate and reform as far as possible. The legislator, therefore, in devising a frame of society, should adapt it to a state in which the rich are selfish and the poor indolent and improvident. For, after all that has been boasted of human improvement, this is usually man's condition. Now, in adjusting social institutions, it is all-important to secure 304 physical comfort; because in a state of physical misery and degradation, moral and intellectual improvement are hopeless; and the business of the legislator is more especially to take care of the weak: the strong will take care of themselves. Property is the chief element of political strength; it is this which gives to individuals power in society; for "money answereth all things;" it commands for its possessor whatever he needs for his physical comfort and safety. The great desideratum in all benign legislation is to sustain the class which has no property, against the social depression and physical suffering to which they always tend. That there will always be such a class, at least till the millennium, is certain, for reasons already stated. Now all civilized communities exhibit a natural law which tends to depress the physical condition of those who have no property, who are, usually, the laboring classes. That law is the tendency of population to increase. The area of a country grows no larger, while the number of people in it is perpetually increasing, unless that tendency is already arrested by extreme physical evils. The same acres have, therefore, more and more mouths to feed, and backs to clothe. Consequently, each person must receive a smaller and smaller share of the total proceeds of the earth. The demand perpetually increases in proportion to the supply; and therefore the price of those productions rises, as compared with the price of labour. Hence in every flourishing community, the relative proportion between the price of land, its rents, and the food and clothing which it produces, on the one hand, and the price of manual labour on the other, is perpetually, though slowly, changing. The 305 former rises, the latter sinks. Improvements in agriculture and the arts, extensive conquests, emigrations, or some other cause, may for a time arrest, or even reverse, this process; but such is the general law, and the constant tendency. The very prosperity and growth of the community work this result. The owners of land become richer: those who live by labour become poorer. Physical depression works moral depression, and these overcrowded and under-fed labourers, becoming more reckless, are familiarized with a lower standard of comfort, and continue to increase. This law has wrought in every growing nation on the globe which is without domestic slavery. It is felt in Great Britain, in spite of her vast colonies, where she has disgorged her superfluous mouths and hands, to occupy and feed them on virgin soils: in spite of her conquests, which have centred in her lap the wealth of continents. It has begun to work in the Northern States of America, notwithstanding the development of the arts, and the proximity of the Great West. Every where it reduces the quantity or quality of food and raiment which a day's labour will earn, and perpetually tends to approximate that lowest grade at which the labouring classes can vegetate, multiply, and toil.

What, now, is the remedy? Not agrarianism: this could only aggravate the evil by taking away the incentive to effort, in making its rewards insecure. Not conquest of new territory: the world is now all occupied; and conquest from our neighbours is unjust. We found the remedy in the much-abused institution of domestic slavery. It simply ended this natural, this universal strife between capital and labour, by making 306 labour the property of capital, and thus investing it with an unfailing claim upon its fair share in the joint products of the two. The manner in which slavery effects this is plain. Where labour is free, competition reduces its price to whatever grade the laws of trade may fix; for labour is then a mere commodity in the market, unprotected, and subject to all the laws of demand and supply. The owner of land or capital pays for the labour he needs, in the shape of wages, just the price fixed by the relation of supply and demand; and if that price implies the severest privation for the labourer or his family, it is no concern of his. Should they perish by the inadequacy of the remuneration, it is not his loss: he has but to hire others from the anxious and competing multitude. Moreover, the ties of compassion and charity are vastly weaker than under our system; for that suffering labourer and his family are no more to that capitalist, than any other among the sons of want. But when we make the labour the property of the same persons to whom the land and capital belong, self-interest inevitably impels them to share with the labourer liberally enough to preserve his life and efficiency, because the labour is also, in the language of Moses, "their money," and if it suffers, they are the losers. By this arrangement also, a special tie and bond of sympathy are established between the capitalist and his labourers. They are members of his family. They not only work, but live, on his premises. A disregard of their wants and destitution is ten-fold more glaring, more difficult to perpetrate, and more promptly avenged by his own conscience and public opinion. The bond of domestic 307 affection ensures to the labourer a comfortable share of the fruits of that capital which his labour fecundates. And the law is enabled to make the employer directly responsible for the welfare of the employed. Thus, by this simple and potent expedient, slavery solved the difficulty, and answered the question raised by the gloomy speculations of Malthus, at whom all anti-slavery philosophers have only been able to rail, while equally impotent to overthrow his premises, or to arrest the evils he predicts.

Slavery also presented us with a simple and perfectly efficient preventive of pauperism. The law, public opinion, and natural affection, all joined in compelling each master to support his own sick and superannuated. And the elevation of the free white labourers, which results from slavery, by placing another labouring class below them, by assigning to them higher and more remunerative kinds of labour, and by diffusing a more general prosperity, reduced white pauperism to the smallest possible amount amongst us. In a Virginian slaveholding county, the financial burden of white pauperism was almost inappreciable. Thus, at one touch, our system solved happily, mercifully, justly, the Gordian knot of pauperism, a subject which has completely baffled British wisdom.

The attempt may be made to evade these considerations, by saying that the same law of increase in population will at length operate, in spite of slavery; and that its depressing effects will reveal themselves in this form: that the labouring class will become so numerous, the same alteration between demand and supply of labour will appear, and the slave's labour will 308 be worth no more than his maintenance, when he will cease to sell for any thing. At this stage, it may be urged, self-interest will surely prompt emancipation, and the whole slave system will fall before the evil which it was expected to counteract.

To this there are several answers. The argument implies that the slaves will be, at that stage, relatively very numerous. Then, the political difficulties of emancipation would be proportionably great. The political necessity would overrule the economical tendency, and compel the continuance of the beneficent institution. And while it subsisted, the tie of domestic affection, and the force of law and public opinion, would still secure for slaves a better share in the joint profits of labour and capital, than would be granted to depressed free labour. This was the case in the Roman Empire, where the population of Italy and Sicily was for several centuries as dense as in those modern States where the Malthusian law has worked most deplorably: and yet slavery did not yield, and emancipation did not follow.

But the more complete answer is as follows. We will attempt now to point out an influence which enabled domestic slavery to resist and repair the evils of over-population, vastly better than any other form of labour. As population increases, the size of fortunes which are accumulated increases. Instances of accumulation are more numerous and far more excessive. Density of population, facility of large industrial operations, concentration of number of labourers, with other causes, ensure that rich men will be vastly richer than while population was sparse; and that there will be 309 many more rich men. While a few of these will be misers, as a general rule they will seek to expend their overflowing incomes. But as man's real wants lie within very narrow limits, and the actual necessaries and comforts of life are cheap, the larger part of these overgrown incomes must be spent in superfluities. The money of the many excessively rich men is profusely spent in expensive jewelry, clothing, equipage, ostentatious architecture, useless menials, fine arts, and a thousand similar luxuries. Now the production of all these superfluities absorbs a vast amount of the national labour, and thus diminishes greatly the production of those values which satisfy real wants. A multitude of the labourers are seduced from the production of those more essential values, by the higher prices which luxury and pride are enabled to pay for their objects. Now, although the manufacturers of these superfluities may, individually, secure a better livelihood than those laborers who produce the necessaries of life, yet the result of the withdrawal of so many producing hands is, that the total amount of necessaries produced in the nation is much smaller. There is, then, a less mass of the necessaries of life to divide among the whole number of the citizens; and some people must draw a smaller share from the common stock. Every sensible man knows that these will be the landless, labouring men. The wealth of the rich will, of course, enable them to engross a liberal supply for their own wants, however scant may be that left for the poor. The ability to expend in superfluities is, therefore, a misdirection of just so much of the productive labour of the country, from the creation of 310 essential values, to the producing of that which fills no hungry stomach, clothes no naked back, and relieves no actual, bodily want. And here, after all, is the chief cause why the Malthusian law is found a true and efficient one in civilized communities. For, were the increasing labour of a growing nation wisely and beneficiently directed to draw from the soil and from nature all that they can be made to yield, their fecundity would be found to be practically so unlimited, that the means of existence would keep pace with the increase of population, to almost any extent. The operative cause of the growing depression of the poor is, not that the same acres are compelled to feed more mouths, and clothe more backs, so much as this: that the inducements which excessive wealth gives to the production of superfluities, misdirects so much precious labour, that the fruitfulness of those acres is not made to increase with the increase of mouths. This is proved by the simple fact, that in all the old countries the misery of the lowest classes tends to keep pace with the luxury of the highest. It is proved emphatically by the industrial condition of Great Britain. There is no country in which production is so active; none in which agriculture and the arts are more stimulated by science and intelligence; and yet there is a growing mass of destitution, yearly approaching more frightful dimensions, and testing the endurance of human nature by lower grades of physical discomfort. The reason is not to be sought in her limited territory or crowded population; for if the British Islands have not acres enough to grow their own bread for so many, why is it that so productive a people are not able to 311 pay for abundance of imported bread? It is to be found in the existence of their vast incomes, and the excessive luxury practised by the numerous rich. True, these magnates excuse their vast expenditures in superfluities by the plea, that one of the motives is the "encouragement of industry." But they effect, as we have seen, not an encouragement, but a misdirection of industry. The reason why so many British poor have a scanty share of physical comforts is, that there are so many British rich men who, by their lavish expenditure, tempt and seduce so large a multitude of producing hands from the creation of actual comforts to the creation of superfluities.

What safe remedy can the legislator propose for this evil? Not a violent, agrarian leveling of the larger estates. That, as we have shown, would be wicked and foolish. Nor can it be found in sumptuary laws. The world has tried them to its heart's content, and found them impracticable. It is true, that their adoption showed how clear a perception the ancients had of one truth, which modern political science pretends to ignore. That truth is, that luxury is a social evil. We have shown that it is as wasteful of social wealth as it is of morals. The ancients thought thus, and they were right. Legislators now-a-days, in exploding their remedy as no remedy, seem to desire to cheat themselves into the belief that the disease is no disease. But the ancients were not as stupid as men imagine.

Now, we do not boast that we can offer a perfect remedy. But our system of labour certainly gave us a partial one of inestimable value. Where the rich man is a citizen of a hireling State, his accumulated wealth 312 and profuse income are all spent in superfluities, except the small portion needed for the comforts of life for his own family. But when he is a citizen of a slave State, they are first taxed with the comfortable support of his slaves. The law, public opinion, affection for them, and self-interest, all compel him to make the first appropriation out of that profuse income, to feeding and clothing his slaves, before he proceeds to superfluities. Thus, the proceeds of the accumulations which dense population and social prosperity cause, are rescued from a useless and mischievous expenditure in those luxuries, the purchase of which misdirects public industry, and tempts to a deficient production of the necessaries of life; and are directed where benevolence, mercy, and the public good indicate, to the comfortable maintenance of the labouring people. That this is the effect of domestic slavery on the incomes of the rich, is proved by one familiar fact. It is well known at the South how slaveholders usually murmured when comparing their style of living with that of capitalists in the hireling States of equal nominal wealth. The planter who owned fifty thousand dollars worth of fertile lands, and a hundred slaves, while he lived in far more substantial comfort and plenty, displayed in Virginia far less ostentation and luxury than the merchant or manufacturer of the North who owns the same amount of capital. His house was plainly furnished with the old-fashioned goods of his fathers; his family rode in a plain carriage, drawn by a pair of stout nags which, probably, either did a fair share of ploughing also, or drew a large part of the fuel for the household. He himself was dressed partly in "jeans," woven under 313 the superintendence of his wife; and his boys were at school in a log house, with homespun clothing, and, in summer, bare feet. It was not unusual to hear the slaveholder, when he considered this contrast, complain of slavery as a bad institution for the master. But this was its merciful feature, that it in some measure arrested superfluous luxury, and taxed superfluous income with the more comfortable support of the labourers. In a hireling State, these might be left half-starved on the inadequate compensation which the hard law of supply and demand in the labour-market would compel them to accept, while the capitalist was rioting in a mischievous waste of the overgrown profits of his capital.

The question of the productiveness of slave labour may be anticipated, so far as to point out the fact, that this benevolent diversion of the large incomes from luxurious expenditures to the comfortable maintenance of the slaves, was a diversion from unproductive to productive consumption. The slaves were a productive class; and the increased comfort of their living added greatly to their increase, and their ability to labour. No student of political economy need be told how powerfully national wealth is promoted by any cause which substitutes productive consumption for unproductive.

The truth of these views is confirmed by this fact, which is attested by all experienced slaveholders: that the slaves throughout the South lived in far more comfort than they did a generation ago. And this is truest of those Southern communities where population is densest, and the price and rents of land are highest. As these influences, elsewhere so depressing to the poor, advanced, the standard of comfort for our slaves 314 rose rapidly, instead of falling. How can a more splendid vindication of the benevolence of our system be imagined? Our slaves generally ate more meat, wore more and better clothing, and lived in better houses, than their fathers did.

That a palpable view may be given, to those who are not personally acquainted with our system, of its true working, the reader's indulgence will be asked for the statement of a few homely details. In Virginia, all slaves, without exception, had their own private funds, derived from their poultry, gardens, "patches," or the prosecution of some mechanic art, in what is termed "their own time." These funds they expended as they pleased, in Sunday-clothing, or in such additions to their diet and comfort as they liked. The allowances which we proceed to state, are strictly those which the master usually made out of his funds. The allowances fixed by usage in this State were generally these: for clothing of adults, one complete suit of stout woolens, two pair pantaloons of cotton or flax, two shirts, two pair of worsted half-hose, and a hat and a blanket, each year. For shoes, the old rule was, one pair each winter, of the quality of best army shoes or boots, to be replaced at harvest with new ones, in the case of ploughmen and reapers, while the "less able-bodied hands" only got their old shoes repaired. But in latter years, the prevalent custom had come to be, to issue shoes to all adults, as often as is required, to keep them shod throughout the year; while the children were universally shod during the winter only.

For diet, the slaves shared jointly the garden-stuff, fruits and milk of the master's plantation and garden. 315 But their essential and preferred food was a certain daily or weekly allowance of corn meal and bacon, issued in addition to the above. The common rule in Virginia, where these were given in the form of rations, was to allow each adult a half-pound of bacon, and two quarts of meal per day. The meal of Indian corn, when uninjured by the mustiness of a sea-voyage, and properly baked at a bright wood-fire, is an excellent and nutritious food, as is shown by the fact that it fills more than an equal place with bread of wheat, on the tables of the richest planters. In many other families, the allowance of meal was unlimited; and the bacon was not issued in formal rations, the servants living at a common board. The supply laid in was then usually according to the following rule: one hundred and fifty pounds of pork per year, for every soul, white and black. When it is remembered that the sucklings and the white females used almost none of this supply, a simple calculation will show that it is equivalent to at least a half-pound per day for each adult. Such were the customary usages in Virginia. There were probably as many cases where the above rules were exceeded, as where the allowances fell below them. In the new States of the South West, where agriculture is still more profitable, it is said that the allowances were more liberal than in the old slave States.

It happens that the census returns of the United States for 1860, published by our enemies themselves, more than confirm this view of the abundant and comfortable living of our labouring population. According to those returns the free States had in 1860, not quite nineteen millions of people, and the slave States twelve 316 and a quarter millions. Of the cereals used by Americans for human food, the free States raised five hundred and sixty-one millions bushels; and the slave States four hundred and ninety-four millions bushels. That is, while the people of the free States had about thirty bushels each of these cereals, those of the slave States had forty-one bushels per head. Moreover, the North boasts that breadstuffs are her great export crops, while cotton and tobacco were ours. Our people, including our slaves, must therefore have used more than four bushels each, to their three. In neither country does each person eat either thirty or forty-one bushels per year; because horses and other live stock eat a part, which it is impossible accurately to estimate. Again: of the animals used for human food, (horned cattle, sheep, and swine,) then free States had about forty millions, or a little more than two per head to each inhabitant; while the slave States had forty and a half millions, or about three and a half to each inhabitant. But as bacon or pork is the flesh most commonly consumed by Americans, and especially by farm labourers, the proportion of swine is still more significant. The free States had not quite twelve millions of swine, and the slave States twenty millions six hundred thousand. This gives a little more than six-tenths of one swine to each inhabitant of the North, and one and seven-tenths to each inhabitant of the South. But this is not all,—for the North (especially the prairie States) exported vast quantities of the flesh of swine to the South, while the slave States exported none to the North. It should in justice be said, that the disparity is not so enormous as would thus appear, because the swine reared 317 in the South are usually smaller than those of the North.
§ 3. Comparative productiveness of Slave Labour.

From the days of Adam Smith, anti-slavery men have been pleased to consider it as a point perfectly settled, that slave labour is comparatively unfavourable to production, and thus, to publick wealth. So settled is this conviction among the enemies, and so often has it been admitted by the apologists of our system, it will probably be hard to secure even a hearing, while we review the grounds on which the common opinion is based. One would think that the fact that those grounds have usually been urged by men who, like Adam Smith, knew nothing of slavery themselves, should bespeak for us at least a little patience and candour.

One of those grounds is, that slavery, by making manual labour the peculiar lot of a servile class, renders it disreputable. This, they suppose, together with the exemption from the law of necessity, fosters indolence in the masters. But, we reply, is manual labour the peculiar lot of the servile class alone, in slave States? Is not this the very question to be settled? Yet it is assumed as the premise from which to settle it. So that the reasoning amounts to no more than this ridiculous petitio principii: "Because the slaves do all the work, therefore the masters do none of the work." This should be made a question of fact. And we emphatically deny that Southern masters were an indolent class, as compared with the moneyed classes elsewhere. In fact, the general rule is that rich men do not work, the world over. It was less true, probably, 318 in Virginia, than in any other commonwealth. The wealthy man of the North, with his grown sons, is more indolent, and more a fine gentleman, than the wealthy slaveholder. If it be said that, in free States, a multitude of small farmers cultivate their lands with their own hands, it is equally true that a multitude of small planters in the South, who owned one, three or five slaves, laboured along with them. That the land shall be owned by the very persons who cultivate it, is an exceptional condition of things, resulting, to some extent in New England, from a very peculiar history, origin and condition of society, and not destined to continue general even there. It is as true of hireling as of slave States, that the tendency of civilized institutions is, and ever has been, and ever will be, generally, to collect the lands in larger properties, in the hands of a richer class than that which actually tills them. Nor is there one syllable of truth in the idea, that labour was among us more disreputable, because usually done by slaves. In all countries, there is foolish pride, and importance is attached, by the silly, to empty badges of station. But it was less so among slaveholders than among the rich, or the would-be rich, of other countries. The reason is obvious. In free States there is just as truly a servile class, bearing the servile inferiority of social station, as among us. That class being white, and nominally free, its addiction to manual labour is the only badge of its social condition. Hence whites of the superior class have a far stronger motive, in their pride, to shun labour. But the white master could freely labour among his black servants, without danger of being mistaken by the transient observer 319 for one of the class, because his skin distinguished him: just as the man of unquestioned wealth and fashion can wear a plain coat, which would be shunned as the plague, by the doubtful aspirant to ton. We repeat: the planters of Virginia were more often seen performing, not only the labours of superintendence, but actual manual labour, than any wealthy class in America. They were proverbial for perseverance and energy. There is a fact which bears a peculiar testimony to this. While Yankee adventurers and immigrants have intruded themselves into every other calling among us, like the frogs into the Egyptian houses and their very chambers and kneading-troughs, those of them who have attempted to act the tobacco planter have, in almost every case, failed utterly. They lack the requisite energy for the calling.

Another reason of the anti-slavery man is, that the free labourer, stimulated by personal interest in his own success, must be more thrifty, industrious, and economical than the slave, who is stimulated only by fear. We reply: both the premises are absolutely false. Slaves were not stimulated only by fear. They felt at least as much affection as the Red Republican or Chartist hireling. They comprehended their own interest in their master's prosperity as fully as hired labourers do. But, in the second place, the labour of free States is not usually performed by men who have a personal interest in their own success: it is performed, in the main, by a landless class, who are as very hirelings as our slaves were slaves; who need just as much the eye of an overseer, and who must be pricked on in their labour, at least as often, by the threat, not of the birch, 320 but of the more cruel penalty of discharge; which they know is their dismissal to starvation or the work-house. This delusive reasoning proceeds by comparing the yeoman landholder in fee-simple, tilling his own soil with his own hands, with the slave tilling the land of his wealthy master. But are the lands of hireling States prevalently tilled by their yeomen owners? Is this the system to which free society tends? The Englishman will not dare to say so, when he looks around him, and sees how rapidly the small holdings have been swallowed up into larger farms, which are now worked by capitalists with organized gangs of hirelings; nor the Scotchman, with the sight of an old tenant peasantry swept away before the ruthless Bothy-system of his country. And, as we have asserted, the class of yeomen landholders, labouring personally among their few slaves, was at least as large, and as permanent in the South, as in any civilized country.

Here again, the actual experiment of abolition has ridiculously exploded all these baseless reasonings for the superior zeal of the white free labourer, and the thriftless eye-service of the slave. All intelligent men knew before that they were precisely contrary to fact; for they saw all hireling labour at the North obviously required a supervision much more constant and stringent, to prevent the hirelings from bringing the employers to bankruptcy by their worthless eye-service, than the labour of our own merry and affectionate servants. If the white hireling labour was aggregated in masses, we uniformly saw it distributed in gangs, to sturdy "bosses," who stood with their formidable bludgeons in their hands, from morning to night, with 321 just fourfold the persistency of any Southern "head-man" or "overseer," and actually indicted blows on his free white fellow-citizens, as frequently as our overseers on the servant children. If the white hireling labour was employed on their little farms, in small numbers, then the proprietors always informed us, that they must be present in the field all the time, to shame and encourage them by their example, or else their "help" would cheat them to their ruin. But in the South, nothing was more common than to see estates farmed by the faithful slaves, for widows, orphans, professional men, or non-resident proprietors, without any other superintendence than an occasional visit. Now, all this is at an end. The labourers are free hirelings, who, according to the anti-slavery argument, should be so superior in enlightened zeal and fidelity. But lo, the Southern people have found that eye-service has thereby increased ten-fold; and if there is any lesson which the South has effectually learned in these two years, it is, that perpetual and jealous supervision is the sole condition on which a meagre profit can be extracted from this wretched and grinding system; and that else, the impositions of the hired labourers inevitably result in speedy bankruptcy. Hard fact has demonstrated that the truth is precisely opposite to the pretty postulates of the anti-slavery philosophers, so called.

It was currently asserted that one free white labourer did as much work as two or three slaves; and Southern gentlemen used often to be heard assenting to it. But here the reader should be reminded of what has been already shown; that if this industrial evil existed among us, that evil was not slavery, but the presence 322 among us of four millions of recent pagans, characterized by all the listlessness, laziness, and unthrift of savages. Slavery did not make the intelligent and industrious worthless; nor does freedom turn the lazy barbarian into a civilized and diligent citizen. If there ever was any truth in this comparison of the efficiency of the African labourer with the free white, it doubtless existed when the former were newly brought into our country. The estimate then formed became traditionary, and prevailed after the partial training and civilization of the blacks had wholly removed its grounds. Several facts prove that no white agricultural labour was so efficient (especially under our ardent sun) as the Africans, had become. Of this, the crowning proof is, again, given us by the unfortunate experiences of actual abolition. Many Virginian proprietors, having still retained the old, but false prejudice, that the negro slave was a less efficient labourer than the white hireling, and being well assured that the labour of the slaves would be deteriorated by emancipation, procured white labour from the North. What was the result? An almost universal conviction that the freed negro, deteriorated as he was, proved still a better labourer than the white hireling! Consequently, the importation of white labour is totally relinquished. Another of these facts is, that in Middle Virginia, where the best free labour in America exists, and was once almost exclusively used, the slave population was, up to the war, steadily supplanting it in agriculture; and was more and more preferred by the most enlightened agriculturists. Another is, that the great contractors on our public works, many of them Northern men, who came to us 323 provided with white labour, gradually convinced themselves that their works could be executed more cheaply, quickly, and quietly, by slaves. The third fact is, that along the line which separates Virginia and Pennsylvania, or Kentucky and Ohio, the lands immediately south of the line were more valuable than those immediately north of it. This is so well known that Senator Sumner, in his notorious libel on the South, admits its existence, and endeavours to evade its force by the following preposterous solution. He says: freedom, by its proximity, infuses something of its own vigour, virtue, and life, into the adjoining Southern community; so as to stimulate its prosperity; whereas, the blighting slave-power contaminates and palsies freedom along the line of its contact, so as to make it exhibit less than its usual happy effects. That is, we are invited to believe that the indirect influence of free labour is so potent that it can go across Mason's and Dixon's line, or the Ohio River, into the midst of the very blight and curse of slavery, and act so happily as to raise the price of slave-tilled lands to eighty dollars per acre; while its direct influences at home, on a soil uncursed with slavery, cannot sustain the price of exactly similar land at sixty dollars! And we are required to believe that while the mere shadow of slavery, falling across the border, sinks the price of land, otherwise blessed with the most profitable system, to sixty dollars, the actual incubus of the horrid monster on a soil unredeemed by the better system, raises it to eighty dollars! Common sense shows us the true solution. Two farms divided only by the imaginary line of the surveyor, of course differ nothing in the natural advantages of soil, 324 climate and productions. Why, then, did the Virginian farm sell for twenty dollars more per acre? Because the owner could combine all the economy and efficiency of a system of slave labour, with the partial advantages of the system of free labour near him; and thus make his farm more profitable than his Pennsylvanian neighbour.

But we are told that actual inspection showed the labour of the South to be wasteful, shiftless, and expensive, as compared with the free labour of the North. We reply, if it seemed so in any case, it is because the comparison is unfairly made. On the Northern side, the specimen is selected near some great city, in some "crack farming district," where the labour is stimulated by abundant capital, supplied with costly implements, and directed by the best skill of that section. On the Southern side, the specimen was taken from some ill-informed population, or some soil originally thin, and in a community depressed and depleted by the iniquitous taxation of Yankee tariffs. But let the best of each be compared; or the medium specimens of each; or the worst of each; and we fearlessly abide the test. Where slave labour was directed by equal skill and capital, it is shown to be as efficient as any in America. There was nowhere on our continent, more beautiful, more economical, or more remunerative farming, than in our densest slaveholding communities.

A third argument against the economy of slave labour, is thus stated by Dr. Wayland: "It removes from both parties, the disposition and the motives to frugality. Neither the master learns frugality from the necessity of labour, nor the slave from the benefits which it confers," etc. 325

Now we emphatically and proudly admit that Southern society has not learned the frugality of New England; which is, among the middle classes, a mean, inhospitable, grinding penuriousness, sacrificing the very comfort of children, and the kindly cheer of the domestic board, to the Yankee penates, Mammon and Lucre; and among the upper classes a union of domestic scantiness and stinginess with external ostentation and profusion; a frugality which is "rich in the parlour, and poor in the kitchen." The idea of the Southern planter is the rational and prudent use of wealth to procure the solid comfort of himself, his children, and his servants at home, coupled with a simple and unostentatious equipage abroad, and a generous hospitality to rich and poor. But we fearlessly assert, and will easily prove to every sensible reader, that slavery was peculiarly favourable to the economical application of labour, and of domestic supplies and income. The attempt to carry the freehold tenure of land down to the yeomanry, subdivides land too much for economical farming. The holdings are too small, and the means of the proprietors too scanty, to enable them to use labour-saving machines, or to avail themselves of the vast advantages of combined labour. How can the present proprietor of a farm of five or ten acres in France or Belgium, afford a reaper, a threshing-machine, a three-horse plough, or even any plough at all? The spade, the wheel-barrow, the donkey, and the flail, must do his work, at a wasteful cost of time and toil. But the Southern system, by placing the labour of many at the direction of one more cultivated mind, and that furnished with more abundant capital, secured the most liberal and enlightened 326 employment of machines, and the most convenient "division of labour." Moreover, the administration of the means of living for the whole plantation, by the master and mistress, secured a great economy of supplies. The mistress of Southern households learns far more providence, judgment and method in administering her stores, than are possessed by free labourers or by blacks. The world over, those who have property are more provident than those who have none. For, this providence is the chief reason why they have property; and the improvidence of the poor is the cause of their being poor. But even if the slaveholders had no more of these qualities, all can see that an immense saving is made by having one housekeeper for ten families, with one kitchen, store-house, and laundry, instead of ten kitchens, ten store-houses, and ten varying administrations of stores. A smaller supply of provisions secures a greater amount of comfort to all, and a great saving of labour is effected in preparation of food, and housekeeping cares. A system of slave labour is, therefore, more productive, because it is more economical.

In all this argument, the anti-slavery men keep out of view a simple fact which is decisive of the absurdity of their position. They shall now be made to look it in the face. That fact is, that in free States, a large portion of all those who, from their moneyless condition, ought to pursue manual labour, are too lazy to do so voluntarily. But they must live, and they do it by some expedient which is a virtual preying on the means of the more industrious, by stealing, by begging, by some form of swindling, by perambulating the streets 327 with a barrel-organ and monkey, or by vending toys or superfluities. Their labour is lost to the community; and their maintenance, together with their dishonest arts and crimes, is a perpetual drain from the public wealth. But slavery made the lazy do their part with the industrious, by the wholesome fear of the birch. Slavery allowed no loafers, no swindlers, no "b'hoys," no "plug-uglies," no grinders of hurdy-gurdies, among her labouring class. Who does not see that, even if the average slave in Virginia did only two-thirds of the day's work accomplished by the industrious free labourer in New York, yet, if all the idle classes in that great commonwealth, together with those now industrious, were compelled to do just the tasks of the average Virginia slave, there would be, on the whole, a vast and manifold gain to the public?

Another potent source of the economy of the slave system in its influences upon publick wealth, is found in a fact which Northern men not only admit, but assert with a foolish pride. It is the far greater development of the local traffic of merchants among them. When your down-East commercial traveller, whose only conception of productive industry was of some arts of "living by his wits," saw this contrast between Northern and Southern villages and country neighbourhoods, he pointed to it with undoubting elation, as proof of the vastly superior wealth and productive activity of the North. But in fact, he was a fool; he mistook what was a villainous, eating ulcer upon the public wealth of the North, and on the true prosperity of the people, for a spring of profits. In a farming neighbourhood of the hireling States, he saw at every hamlet and cross-road, 328 pretentious shingle-palaces, occupied as large stores, where great accumulations of farm produce were paraded; sacks of meal, barrels of flour, bins of corn, packs of wool, garners of wheat, tubs of eggs, cans of butter, hogsheads of bacon, and even kegs of home-made soap, together with no little show of cheap finery. In the farming districts of the South, he rode along a quiet, shady road, with the country-seats of the planters reposing at a distance, in the bosoms of their estates; and found at long intervals a little country store, where a few groceries, medicines, and cloths were exposed for sale to sparse customers. Now this narrow trafficker, whose only heaven was buying and selling, very naturally jumped to the conclusion, that the South was so much poorer than the North, as she exhibited less local trade. Whereas in fact, she was just so much richer. And this unpopular assertion is, still, perfectly easy to demonstrate. The necessary labour of distributing commodities from producers to consumers, is a legitimate element of that fair market value, which they have when they finally reach the hand which consumes them. But political economists well know, and uniformly teach, that if any unnecessary middle-men interpose themselves between first producer and ultimate consumer, whose labour is not truly promotive of the economical distribution of commodities, then their industry is misdirected, the wages they draw for it in the shape of increased price of commodities passed through their hands is unproductive consumption, and they are a useless, a mischievous drain upon the common wealth. For instance, if a class of middle-men, retailers, or forwarding merchants, juggle themselves unnecessarily into the importing 329 dry-goods trade of the country; if they place themselves between the manufacturer in England, and the consumer in rural New York, grasping wages for their intervention, in the shape of an additional profit which falls ultimately upon the retail purchaser; while yet they really contribute nothing to the economical distribution of the dry-goods; every one sees that they are a nuisance; they grasp something for nothing; and are preying upon the publick wealth, instead of promoting it like the legitimate merchant. Honest men will speedily require legislation, to expel them and abate the nuisance. Apply now this well-known principle to the case in hand. The simple system of slaveholding distributed that part of the products of farms, which properly went to the labourers' subsistence, direct to the consumers, without taxing it unnecessarily with the profits of the local merchant. The master was himself the retail merchant; and he distributed his commodities to the proper consumers, at wholesale prices, without profit. The consumers were his own servants. He remarked, in the language of the country, that, for this part of his products, he "had his market at home." Now, is it not obvious that the consumer, the slave, got more for his labour, and that the system of hireling labour, by invoking this local storekeeper, instead of the master, to do this work of distribution to consumers, which the master did better without him, and without charge, has brought in a useless middle-man? And his industry being useless and unproductive, its wages are a dead loss to the publick wealth. This coarse fellow behind the counter, retailing the meal and bacon and soap, at extortionate retail prices, to labourers, should be 330 compelled to labour himself, at some really productive task; and the labourers should have gotten these supplies, untaxed with his extortion, on the farms where their own labour produced them, and at the farmer's prices. Is not this true science, and true common sense? But this is just the old Virginian system.

The justice of this view may be seen by a familiar case. A given landholder was, under our beneficent system, a slaveholder. He employed ten labourers; and for them and their families he reserved four hundred bushels of grain in his garners, which their labour and his capital jointly had produced. This grain is worth to him wholesale prices; and it is distributed by him to his servants, throughout the year, without charge. It is, in fact, a part of the virtual wages of their labour; and they get it at the wholesale price. But now, abolition comes: these ten labourers become freemen and householders. They now work the same lands, for the same proprietor; and instead of drawing their wages in the form of a generous subsistence at wholesale prices, they draw money. Out of that money they and their families must be maintained. One result is, that the landholder now has a surplus of four hundred bushels more than before. Of course it goes to the corn-merchant. And there must these labourers go, with their money wages, to buy this same corn, at the enhanced retail price. They get less for their labour. The local merchant, thus unnecessarily invited in, sucks a greedy profit; a vain show of trading activity is made in the community; and all the really producing classes are made actually poorer; while this unproductive consumer, the unnecessary retail trader, 331 congratulates himself on his mischievous prosperity. It is most obvious, that when the advocate of the hireling system attempts to reply to this, by saying that his system has opened a place for an additional branch of industry, that of enlarged traffic, he is preposterous. The answer is, that the additional industry is a loss: it is unproductive. As reasonably might one argue that crime is promotive of publick prosperity, by opening up a new branch of remunerative industry,—that of police and jailors, (a well-paid class!)

But sensible men ever prefer facts to speculations—the language of experience to that of theoretical assertion. Let us then appeal to the fact, as revealed by the statistics furnished of us, by the anti-slavery government of the United States. By the census of 1860, while the population of the Free States was not quite nineteen millions, their total of assessed values, real and personal, was $6,541,000,000: being three hundred and forty-six ($346) dollars to each soul. The free white population of the South was a little more than eight and a quarter millions, and our total of assessed values was $5,465,808,000: being six hundred and sixty ($660) dollars to each soul; nearly double the wealth of the North. But if the four millions of Africans in the South be added, our people still have four hundred and forty-seven ($447) dollars of value for each soul, black and white.
§ 4. Effects of Slavery in the South, compared with those of Free Labour in the North.

The citations just made introduce a topic upon which anti-slavery men have usually abounded in sweeping assertion; the actual effects of our system on our industrial 332 concerns. A fair example of these assertions may be seen in Dr. Wayland, Moral Science, p. 210, (Boston, 1838:) "No country, not of great fertility, can long sustain a large slave population. Soils of more than ordinary fertility cannot sustain it long, after the first richness of the soils has been exhausted. Hence, slavery in this country is acknowledged to have impoverished many valuable districts; and hence it is continually migrating from the older settlements to those new and untilled regions, where the accumulated manure of centuries of vegetation has formed a soil, whose productiveness may, for a while, sustain a system at variance with the laws of nature. Many of our free, and of our slaveholding States, were peopled about the same time. The slaveholding States had every advantage, both in soil and climate, over their neighbours; and yet the accumulation of capital has been greatly in favour of the latter," etc.

The points asserted here are, that Northern men have grown rich faster than Southern men; that slavery has so starved itself out by its wasteful nature, as to be compelled to migrate from "many valuable districts," to virgin soils; and that it is slavery which exhausts those virgin soils. Each of these statements is absolutely false. That the first and most important of the three is so, we have just shown, by the overwhelming testimony of fact. Southern citizens have accumulated capital faster than Northern, in the ratio of six hundred and sixty to three hundred and forty-six. And the manner in which these thrice refuted lies are obtruded, may fairly illustrate the morality with which anti-slavery men have usually conducted their argument against us 333 That a conceited, pragmatical Yankee parson should be misled by rancourous prejudice around him, and by the concessions of foolish Southerners, to publish such statements thirty years ago, on a subject of which he knew nothing, is not very surprising. But surely Dr. Wayland, President of Brown University, Christian Divine, Instructor of youth, and Teacher of Ethicks,(!) would hardly have been expected to continue to print the falsehoods in successive editions of his work, after three successive census returns had utterly exploded them.

The second statement we contradict by the census as categorically as the first. It is not true that slavery was compelled to emigrate, by its own exhaustion, to virgin soils in the South West. For, in fact, slavery has not emigrated at all. Slaves have emigrated, in large numbers; [as we presume, Yankees have.] But the institution has not receded, and, at the beginning of our war, was not receding from its old ground in Virginia and the Carolinas. The slave population of the old States has shown a steady increase at each decennial period, and except where the penchant of the Yankees for stealing them had rendered them insecure, they occupied substantially all the old counties, and spread into new ones, as they were settled.

But we shall be asked: can it be possible that the representations so uniformly made by travellers, of the ragged, impoverished, and forlorn appearance of many districts of Eastern Virginia and the Carolinas, and of their poor and slovenly agriculture, are all mistaken? That there is much exhausted, and still more poor land, in these sections; that through extensive districts the soil and crops are now very thin, and the tillage rude, 334 we explicitly admit. But this is by no means the same as admitting that it is slavery which has impoverished those regions. In the first place, of the larger part it is utterly false to say that they have ever been impoverished, by any cause; for they never had any fertility to lose. The statement usually made, as to the most of these old lands, is monstrously false. It has been usually represented that the Atlantic slope of Virginia was originally excessively rich, and has been brought to its present condition by slavery and tobacco. But in truth, this region, with the exception of limited spots, was naturally poor and thin; as every sensible person who has examined it knows. A vast proportion of it would scarcely have been judged susceptible of settlement at all, but for the attraction of its healthy climate, and the one or two crops of tobacco which its thin mould would produce. And it is only the thrifty industry of its inhabitants, together with the value of their staple, tobacco, which enabled them to live as plentifully as they did on so poor a soil.

In the next place, the exhaustion is really far less than it appears to the Englishman or New Englander, and the tillage far more judicious and thorough. The agriculture of planting regions is, necessarily, very different from that of farming regions; and especially is the culture of the grasses to a very large extent precluded by the nature of the crops, the soil, and the climate. Hence, excellent lands in the South, especially during fall and winter, often lack that appearance of verdancy, which to the English eye is the chief measure of fertility. But to suppose those lands as exhausted as fields equally bare or brown would be 335 correctly judged in grass regions, would be an amazing mistake. Nor is the management always indolent where it seems slovenly. The Southern planter is proverbially disinclined to consult mere appearances at the cost of substantial advantage. Though the fencing seem rough, and the farm ill kept in many respects, the accurate observer will find his cultivation of the valuable staples, cotton and tobacco, thorough and skillful. There is no neater culture than that of the tobacco fields of Virginia.

Again: wherever the soil was originally fertile, in the Atlantic slope, as in the red lands of the Piedmont region, and the alluvial valleys of the great rivers, there the supposed decline of agriculture is unknown. All those lands which by nature were really fine, are now finer. The tillage was better, the yield per acre larger, the culture more remunerative, at the opening of the war, than at any date since the virgin forests were cleared away.

But so far as there has been an actual exhaustion of Southern soil, [and that there has been is admitted,] it can be proved to be due to other causes than slavery. For an exhaustion precisely similar can be pointed out in many of the free States. In both regions, it has arisen from two causes: the proximity of new and cheap lands, to which the exhausting farmer could easily resort, and the possession of a valuable staple crop, whose profits powerfully stimulated large operations. Those free States which lay under the same circumstances, have undergone the same exhaustion, except in so far as a natural depth of soil has made the process slower. If any parts of our country have escaped the 336 "skinning process" after their first settlement, it has been simply because they were not so fortunate as to possess any valuable staple, or else were too remote from a market. Western Vermont, sixty years ago, was resorted to as a fertile wheat growing district. Long ago it was so exhausted that the culture of wheat was nearly relinquished, and its inhabitants emigrated to the new lands of Western New York to raise wheat; while the wheat fields of Vermont are now sheep-walks, and her farmers buy their flour. But Western New York, in its turn, has declined, till its average crop per acre is only one-half the original; and its farmers have sought the fertile plains of Illinois and Michigan, to subject them in turn to the same exhaustion. Even Ohio, fertile Ohio, the boast of abolitionists, whose black loam seemed able to defy human mismanagement, is proved by the stubborn census tables to have declined one-half, already, in its yield per acre. And her own children acknowledge, that if the appearance of the older parts be compared with that of twenty years ago, the signs of exhaustion are manifest. This vicious system, then, is not traceable to slave labour, seeing it prevails just as often where no slave labour exists; but to the cheapness of new lands, and facility of emigration.

Virginia presents other facts demonstrating the economy and efficiency of slave labour. The great Valley of Virginia (between the Blue Ridge and North Mountain Ranges,) is a farming and grazing region, of fertile soil and prosperous agriculture. In its great extent, some counties are occupied almost exclusively by free labour, and some have a large slave population. Now it is perfectly well known to all intelligent persons here, 337 that precisely in those counties of this beautiful valley where there are most slaves, is the land highest in price, the agriculture most profitable and skillful, the farm buildings most elegant, and the community most prosperous and wealthy. Virginia east of the Blue Ridge is partly a farming and partly a planting region, having a mixed agriculture. Its soil is exceedingly different from that of the great valley, even where as fertile; and consequently the tillage is unlike. But there too, the neatest, most thorough and most profitable agriculture, and the highest priced lands, the finest farm stock, and the most prosperous landholders, are to be found precisely where the slave labour is most prevalent. And there is no agriculture in America superior to that of these favoured regions.

But, in conclusion, even if the industrial pursuits of the South were in the unfavourable condition which the Yankees love to assert, the sufficient cause would be found, not in slavery, but in the exactions and swindlings of their own section, through sectional federal legislation. Let a sober statement of these exactions be weighed, and the wonder will be, not that the South should be depleted, but that she is not bled to death. In the first place, the Federal Government, at its foundation, adopted the policy of giving a fishing bounty, (to encourage, as it said, a school of sailors for the national marine,) which went wholly into the pockets of New Englanders. It is said that the bounties paid are yearly about one and a half millions. Supposing that half only of the sum thus taken from the Federal Treasury was paid in by the South, (which we shall see is less than the truth,) this bounty, with that part of its 338 increase which has accrued by simple interest alone, amounts now to one hundred and seventy-one millions, transferred by this unfair legislation from the South to the North. Next are to be mentioned the tonnage duties on foreign ships carrying between American ports, which, as the South had few ships, constituted a perpetual tax on us for the benefit of the North. Its amount cannot possibly be estimated with exactness, but it must have amounted to millions annually. Next came the oppression of a protective tariff, raising upon imports as high a revenue as sixty or seventy millions annually, in the last years of the government. As the South had few manufactures, and the North many, and as these duties, even where laid for revenue, were discriminating against the cheaper and better foreign manufactures which the South desired, in every case where discrimination was possible; it is manifest that the system constituted a simple robbery of the South of annual millions, for the benefit of the North. But we lost far more than the actual tariff on that portion of the national imports which were consumed at the South; because the restrictive policy, by throwing the balance of trade against the nations which took our grand staples of tobacco and cotton, deprived them of the ability to buy so freely, and at so large prices, as they would have done under a policy of free trade. Thus, the Southern planter not only paid the Northern manufacturer a profit on his goods equal to the protective tariff, but in the process of that robbery, lost several times as much more, in the prices which he should have received for his cotton or tobacco, had he been permitted to go with it to a free European market. This 339 method of legislative plunder was so wasteful, that the Yankee, in stealing one dollar from us, annihilated several other dollars of our values. Next may be mentioned the advantage which the North gained in the funding of the Federal debt incurred at the Revolutionary war. This was so juggled by the Hamilton party, as to give the avails of it chiefly to the North. The enjoyment of that fund, with its increase since, has made a difference of untold millions in favour of the North. Last: the North twice enjoyed the advantage of having the National Bank situated in its midst, and wielding for purposes of traffic a large part of the funds of the Government. This superior command of ready money, acquired in these various ways, enabled the North to develope commercial centres, and to fix the great markets in her territory, thus ensuring to her the countless profits of commissions, freights, etc., on Southern trade.

Is it wonderful that the industry of a people thus swindled and plundered should languish? Who does not know the power of abundant capital, and especially of ready money, in stimulating enterprise and facilitating industry? Yet, under all this incubus the South has more than kept pace with its rapacious partner. When, therefore, the Yankee abolitionist points to any unfavourable contrasts in our condition, as evidence of the evil of slavery, he adds insult to falsehood: his own injustice has created the misfortune with which he taunts us, so far as that misfortune exists at all. 340
§ 5. Effects of Slavery on Population, Disease, and Crime.

But our enemies argue that slavery must be an obstacle to national growth and strength; for this is evinced by the very fact that they are nearly nineteen millions, and we only twelve and a quarter; when, at the beginning, the two sections were nearly equal in strength. Let us, therefore, look into this question. The increase of population is usually a sure test of the physical well-being of a people. Hardship and destitution repress population, by obstructing marriages, by breeding diseases, and by increasing the mortality of infants. If the population of the South be found to have a rapid natural increase, it will prove, therefore, the general prosperity of the people; and if the black race be found to multiply rapidly, it will be an evidence that their physical condition is happy, or in other words, that the institution of slavery is a humane one for them. Sufficient access being denied us to the statistics collected in 1860, our remarks must be based in part on the returns of 1850, and previous periods. These returns show that between 1840 and 1850, the whites of the free States increased thirty-nine and a half per cent., (39.42,) and the whites of the slave States increased thirty-four and a fourth per cent., (34.26.) The climate, the occupations, and the African labour of the South, repel almost the whole of that teeming immigration from Europe which has been rushing to our shores; so that making allowance for this source of population, it will be seen that the natural increase of Southern whites is as rapid as that of Northern. 341

In 1860, the whites in the free States had increased to about eighteen and a half millions; and in the slave States, to about eight and a quarter millions. The increase for the free States was, therefore, forty-two (42) per cent., and for the slave States thirty-three per cent., (33.) The census showed that in the decade between 1840 and 1850, four-fifths of the foreign immigration, for the reasons mentioned, went into the free States. If we suppose the same ratio to have prevailed in the last decade, then the fact that the North has received four-fifths of the immense rush of Europeans who resorted to our shores in the last ten years, will abundantly account for this difference of increase. The South has grown as fast in white population, as the North would have done, left to itself.

But the increase of the slave population of the South is obscured by no such disturbing cause. The South having magnanimously concurred, and even gone before, in suppressing the foreign slave trade, from a conviction of its immorality, the African race has received no accession whatever, in our day, from immigration. Between 1840 and 1850, the increase of the slave population solely from the excess of births over deaths, was twenty-eight and eight-tenths per cent., (28.8,) and between 1850 and 1860, it was twenty-three and three-tenths (23.3) per cent. One cause for the diminished rate of increase in the latter decade, was doubtless the growing passion of the Yankees for the abduction of our slaves; which, towards the last, carried off thousands annually. But either rate of increase is more rapid than the whites, either North or South, ever attained without the aid of immigration. The native increase 342 of the free States in ten years has probably been between eleven and fifteen per cent. So that tried by this well-established test, the physical well-being of the slaves is higher than of any race in the world. Meantime, the miserable free blacks of New England, in the midst of the boasted philanthropy of abolitionism, only increase at the rate of one and seven-tenths of one per cent. in ten years! Such is the stern and impartial testimony of fact. How calamitous must be that load of social oppression, of disease and destitution, which thus nearly annihilates the increase of this fruitful race! Yet this is the condition to which the benevolent abolitionist would reduce the prosperous servants of the South.

This seems the suitable place to notice the most insulting and preposterous of the abolitionists' slanders. It is that expressed by calling Virginia the "slave-breeding commonwealth." What do these insolent asses mean? Do they intend to revile Virginia, because she did not suppress the natural increase of this peaceful and happy class of her people, by wholesale infanticide? Or because she did not, like the North, subject them to social evils so cruel and murderous, as to kill off that increase by the slow torture of vice, oppression, and destitution? It was the honour of Virginia, that she was a man-breeding commonwealth; that her benignant government made existence a blessing, both to the black man and the white, and, consequently, conferred it on many of both. If it has been proved, which we claim, that servitude was the best condition for the blacks, and that it promoted their multiplication, then this is a praise and not 343 a reproach to Virginia. How perverse and absurd is the charge, that Virginia was actuated by a motive beastly and avaricious, in bestowing existence on many black men, and making it a blessing to them; because, forsooth, her wise government of them made them useful to the State and to themselves! By the same reason, the Christian parents who rejoice in children as a gift of the Lord, and a blessing to him "who hath his quiver full of them," are "slave-breeders," because they make their children useful, and hope to find them supports to their old age.

But medical statistics have revealed the fact, that another sure test of the physical well-being and progress of a people may be found, in the per-centage of hereditary disease, idiocy, and lunacy among them. The hardships, destitution, and immoralities of a bad state of society have a powerful influence to propagate blindness, deafness, idiocy, scrofula, cretinism, and to harass the feebler minds into derangement; while the blessings of good government, abundant food and raiment, and social happiness, strengthen and elevate the "human breed." The returns of the census of 1850 were collected by authority of Congress, on these points, and they show that of whites, North and South, about one person in every thousand is either deaf, dumb, blind, insane, or idiotic. Of free blacks in the North, one person in every five hundred and six was in one or the other of these sad conditions! Of the black people of the South, one person among every one thousand four hundred and forty-six, was thus afflicted. So that, by this test, Southern slaves are three times as prosperous, contented, happy, and moral as Northern free blacks, 344 and once and a half times as much so as the whites themselves. The frightful proportion which these elemental maladies have reached among the wretched free blacks of abolitiondom, does more to reveal the misery of their condition there, than volumes of description.

The statistics of crime and pauperism reveal results yet more astounding for our enemies, and triumphant for us. While the free States had, in 1850, about thirteen and a half millions, including a few hundreds of thousands of free blacks, and the South about nine and a half millions of whites and blacks, there were, in that year (23,664) twenty-three thousand six hundred and sixty-four criminal convictions in the North, and (2,921) two thousand nine hundred and twenty-one in the South. The same year, the North was supporting (114,704) one hundred and fourteen thousand seven hundred and four paupers; and the South (20,563) twenty thousand five hundred and sixty-three. One of the most remarkable things is the great excess of both crime and pauperism in the New England States, "the land of steady habits," not only as compared with the South, but as compared with the remainder of the North, except New York. In Boston and its adjacent county, in Massachusetts, the persons in jails, houses of correction or refuge, and alms-houses, bore, among the blacks, the ratio of one to every sixteen: and among the whites, of one to every thirty-four. In Richmond, Virginia, the same unhappy classes bore, among the blacks, the ratio of one to every forty-six, and among the whites, of one to every one hundred and twelve. By this test, then, the white people of Richmond are three 345 times as happy and moral as the white people of Boston, and the negroes of Richmond have proportionably one-third less crime than the white people of Boston, and are nearly three times as moral as the free blacks of that city.

We have thus examined the testimony of facts, as given to us under the unwilling authority of the Congress of the United States. They show that, by all the tests recognized among statesmen, slavery has not made the South less populous, less rich, less moral, less healthy, or less abundant in the resources of living than its boastful rival, in proportion to its opportunities. On this evidence of experience we rest ourselves.

In dismissing this head of our discussion, we would briefly touch two points. One is the annual production of the industry of the North and the South. Without burdening the reader with statistical details, it is sufficient to sum up the annual results of the three great branches, of agriculture, mining, and manufactures. The North exceeds the South in proportion to population, in wheat, hay, dairy products, and manufactures; while the South greatly exceeds the North in the great staples of Indian corn and tobacco, and surpasses it almost immeasurably in rice, cotton, and naval stores. Summing up the varied productions of each section, we find that the industry of the South is, on the whole, more productive than that of the North, relatively to its numbers. And of the great commodities which constitute the basis of foreign commerce, the South yields more than the North, in about the ratio of four to one! 346

The other point is the relative improvement of the soil. According to the census of 1860, there were four acres of improved land to each inhabitant of the North, appraised, with their rateable proportion of stock and implements, at $223. This gives about $56 for each acre and its stock. In the South, on the other hand, each inhabitant claims nine acres of improved land, valued, with their stock and implements, at $322. This allows about $36 for each acre and its stock. It has been argued that this evinces the slovenly and imperfect agriculture of the slaveholding States, and the comparative exhaustion of their soils. It is said, their rude tillage is spread over a far wider surface, and conducted with inferiour appointments. And this depreciating result slavery has brought about, they assert, in spite of superiour natural advantages. We remark that, contrary to the usual assertion, the natural fertility was superiour in the free States. The soil of the Middle States had a better natural average than that of the old Atlantic slave States, and the North-western States had a vastly larger proportion of fertile lands than the South-western. In the next place, the agriculture of the South is of such a character that it requires a wider area; and yet this requirement argues nothing of its greater imperfection. It may require more space to fly a kite than to spin a top, and yet it does not follow that the kite-flying is less skillful sport than the top-spinning. An iron manufactory must necessarily cover more ground than a chemical laboratory; but no one argues thence, that the ironmonger is less a master of his trade than the manufacturer of drugs, of his. Last: the fact that the Southern planter 347 accounts the labour of his farm as property, and so, as a part of his invested capital, causes a lower nominal valuation of his lands, though there be no inferiority of actual production. Grain and grass lands in the county of Rockingham have always sold higher than grain and grass lands in the county of Albemarle, which were actually yielding the same products annually. The former were tilled by free labour, and the latter by slave; but the Albemarle farming was confessedly as skillful, as economical, and as profitable, as the Rockingham. The explanation is the following: The Rockingham farmer, hiring his free labour, needed no more capital for this purpose than was sufficient to pay the wages of a few months in advance of the realization of his crop. The Albemarle farmer expended a large portion of his farming capital in the purchase of slaves, and afterwards paid no money in hire. The former, investing twenty thousand dollars in agriculture, could expend the whole sum in land, except what was required to stock it and pay wages for a few months. Thus he would begin by buying three hundred acres of land for eighteen thousand dollars. But the slaveholding farmer began by expending eight thousand dollars in the purchase of servants, leaving him but ten thousand to pay for the three hundred acres of land. For this reason land of the same actual value must be rated at a smaller nominal price among slaveholders than among farmers employing free labour. But the true profits of the farming are not reduced thereby, in the proportion of eighteen thousand to ten thousand. For the slaveholder no longer has to tax his crops, (equal in gross amount to those of the Rockingham farmer,) 348 with the hire of labourers. That tax he pays in the shape of the annual interest on the eight thousand dollars, which, in the first instance, he paid for his servants. Hence the facts do not argue that the land is intrinsically less productive or less profitable; they only argue a different distribution of capital between the two sources of production, land and labour. In consequence of that difference, the land must be represented by less money. This obvious explanation explodes much that has been taught concerning the comparative barrenness of Southern farming.


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