Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed Page: 33 of 119
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3:~3 [F 341 1
It is worth, also, of consideration as a measure of ihmanity, wvith reference
to the slaves tlhemrselves.
No man, who knows any thing of his own nature, can suppose it to be
possible that two races of men, distingutished by external and ineffaceable
marks obvious to every eye, who have held towards'each other, from time
immemorial, the relation of master and slave, could ever live together as
equals, in the same country, and under the samre Government. If, therefore,
slavery be abolished, the one or the other of the races must leave the
country or be exterminated. This choice wxould be for the slaves, because
they are the weaker party. WhVere should they fly ? To the neighboring
free States, for there wou!d be no other place of refu?e. Waould those
States receive them ? Let it be remlembered that they now number two
and a half millions; and the free negroes, wlh.o must share their fate,
nummber near four lundred thousand morel; ad let it also be remembered,
that nearly all of them are and would be paupers. No wise State would
willingly take upon itself the burden of such a populatio, ; and, even if all
of them were healthy laborers, the evil would scarcely be less. The white
laborer would not endure such a competition ; he would not a,lree to work
side by side wilh a degraded caste he wouid not submit to have his industry
rendered less profitable by the competition of new comers, of a
strange and dishonored race. This is sutficiently shown by the wellknown
occurrences in some o o our principal towns, within a few years past.
The chances, tlhen, are that the African would be a persecuted pauper,
even as a free citizen of a free State. But even if ihe should be permitted
to share fairly in the labor of the country, that labor would soon come to be
considered as his appropriate sphere, and as unworthy of the white man.
It is not the policy of our States, nor of England, thus to degrade labor. To
all this may be added, the certainty that the African race, existiln in large
numbers as freemen, in countries whose Governments and laws recognise
no difference of color, would not long be satisfied to be excluded from any
political right, or civil privilege, or social advailtage, allowed to the white
mian. The discords and angry contests which iwoulld grow out of this state
of things, and the effect whiichl they would have upon the tranquillity and
prosperity of the country, may be easily itmagined. A wise Government
would avoid them, by at once shuLtting the door against the emancipated
slave. The only alternative would be, the extermiination of his race.
So far, then, as the slaves themselves are concerned, their conditionf
vwould be infinitely worse thlan it now is, while their irnfluence as freemen
upon our manners and social condition would not fail to be in the highest
But in another view the subject is equally interesting. What effect
would be produced upon the productive industry of the South by withdrawing
from it all the labor afforded by two and a half millions of its
people ? 'This is nearly one-lhalf the entire poputlation of th-e slaveholding
States. It is not possible to suppose that their places would soon be supplied
by white labor. If there were no other difficulty in the way, the
climate alone. would oppose an insuperable obstacle. Butt, even under the
most favorable circumstances, so large a number of laborers is not easily
obtained. Let it be borne in mind that these slaves perform nearly the
whole agricultural labor of the South. If that labor should be withdrawn,
their fields must lie uctilitivated, their houses and other improvements
nmust go to decay, and their lands be worth nothing. The utter ruin of the
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United States. Congress. Senate. Proceedings of the Senate and Documents Relative to Texas, from which the Injunction of Secrecy Has Been Removed, book, 1844; [Washington]. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2363/m1/33/: accessed September 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .