Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas Page: 16 of 19
This book is part of the collection entitled: From Republic to State: Debates and Documents Relating to the Annexation of Texas, 1836-1856 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the UNT Libraries.
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till whole provinces were dispeopled and desolate; and the
Campagna of Rome itself, in the beginning of the Fifth Century
had 528,000 acres of land unculltivated.
Such was the experiment on slavery, running through centuries,
with more vigorous races than our African people, with
a Roman Empire for its field and all the power and splendor
and accumulated wealth of the then civilized world to sustain
it; and not one whisper of objection in all the world against it.
But it may be said, " we see no such result under our system."
We have not tried it yet for centuries! Besides; do we see
nothing-do we mark no steps of the coming Roman fate?
Are there not already uncultivated districts at the South? Are
there not counties in Maryland that refuse to pay the ordinary
State-tax, because they say they cannot pay it? Are not the
plantations of Virginia nearly worn out? The slave crops
failing, do not planters begin to calculate upon ' the vigintial
crop " of slaves ? Already, what would they do if there were
no market-i. e. if they were left to the natural effect of the
system? Wihy, they could not sell their dilapidated estates if
there were not free people to buy them. Yes, free cultivators
from the inland counties of New York, go and buy those once
lordly plantations for a song. And what do they do there?
Simply they put their plow three inches deeper into the soil,
than the slave-spade went, and they turn the barren acres into
a fruitfiul field. What an extraordinary thing is it, that this
experience works out no conviction ! The richest countries on
the earth, cannot support slavery without other rich countries to
fall back upon. A world so cultivated, would die out into utter
poverty and misery, and demand other worlds to receive and
replenish its exhausted energies. Did God design that this
world, evidently ordained to be the field of vigorous and victorious
industry, should be turned to such account as this?
There never was a greater infatuation than obstinately to
hold on to this species of property till it impoverishes the whole
land. Ay, property that impoverishes, wealth that maketh poor !
A strange solecism; but so it is. A wrong is in this tenure; a
fate is upon it; it never ought to prosper, and it never can !
Let me say one word in close. I have no fanatical idea of
slavery as if it were the only evil thing in the world, nor of
slaves as if they were the only persons that appeal to my
humanity. The world is full of wrongs and evils, and full of
wronged and suffering men. But still I do say that of all
Here’s what’s next.
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Dewey, Orville. Discourse on Slavery and the Annexation of Texas, book, January 1, 1844; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2359/m1/16/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .