Condition of the American Colored Population, and of the Colony at Liberia
AMERICAN COLORED POPULATION,
AND OF THE
COLONY AT LIBERIA.
PUBLISHED BY PEIRCE & PARKER.
STATEMENT OF FACTS.
The statements in the pamphlet published by this Society duringthe last year, had reference principally, to the establishment and prosperityof the Colony at Liberia. It is proposed to exhibit in the followingpages some facts relative to the present condition of the coloredpopulation in the United States, and to offer some remarks on thedifferent measures recommended for their relief.
The facts to be presented, have all been derived from official documents,or from special correspondence with intelligent and responsiblegentlemen in various parts of the country, and may be relied upon assubstantially correct.
The first presentation of facts is designed to show the condition of theslaves in the United States, and will have respect to the following topics.(1.) Their population and increase. (2.) Their civil disabilities.(3.) Their intellectual and moral condition.
I. Population and Increase of the Slaves in the United States.
The following table is designed to show the population and increaseof the Slaves in the United States since 1820. The first column givesthe name of the state; the second, the census of 1820; the third, thecensus of 1830; the fourth, the increase of the slaves during the interveningten years; the fifth, the rate per cent. of slave increase; andthe sixth, the rate per cent. increase of the whites.
|Census of 1820||Census of 1830||Increase from |
1820 to 1830.
|Rate per Cent. |
|Rate per Cent. |
The above table was compiled from Niles’ Register for January 26th,1822, page 345, and for October 29th, 1831, page 176. The blanksin the fourth column show that instead of an increase, there was anactual diminution of slaves during the ten years comprised in the table.The diminution in Maryland was 4,520, and in the District of Columbia313. In some others they have nearly disappeared. It appears howeverfrom the table, that in the Southern States, particularly thosesouth of Virginia, there has been an astonishing increase of slaves.In some of the States it has surpassed the increase of the whites byforty, fifty, and even an hundred and fifty per cent. In Arkansas theincrease of the slave population has surpassed the white by 166 percent.
The following table shows the relative strength of the white andblack population in the slave holding states, at the close of each successive10 years, to the end of the present century, supposing the rate ofincrease to continue as it has been during the last ten. The tableis taken from calculations made during the year by the Hon. DanielMayes, of Kentucky.
From the above table it appears that in 1900, should nothing takeplace to diminish the increase of blacks in the slave-holding states, theywill exceed the whites by 4,741,166—being an amount greater than thepopulation of all the United States under Washington’s administration.
II. Civil Disabilities of the Slaves.
The following statements have been taken principally from Stroud’sSketch of the Laws relative to slavery in the United States. Theymay be regarded as corollaries from the general law concerning theslaves, and also as matters of express legislation.
1. Slaves have no legal rights of property in things real or personal;but whatever they may acquire, belongs in point of law to their masters.(The bearing of this on the purchase of freedom is obvious.)
2. The slave, being a personal chattel, is at all times liable to be soldabsolutely, or mortgaged or leased at the will of his master.
3. He may also be sold by process of law, for the satisfaction of thedebts of a living, or the bequests of a deceased master, at the suit ofcreditors or legatees.
4. A slave cannot be a party, before a judicial tribunal, in anyspecies of action, against his master, whatever may have been theinjury received from him.
5. Slaves cannot redeem themselves, nor obtain a change of masters.
6. Slaves being objects of property if injured by third persons, theirowners may bring suit, and recover damages, for the injury.
7. Slaves can make no contract.
8. Slavery is hereditary and perpetual.5
It may also be further stated concerning the disabilities of theslave,
1. That he cannot be a witness against a white person, either in acivil or criminal cause.
2. He cannot be a party to a civil suit.
3. Submission is required of the slave, not to the will of his masteronly, but to that of all other white persons.
4. The penal codes of the slave holding states bear much moreseverely upon the slaves than upon the white persons,—taking thelife of the slave, where a slight punishment only is inflicted upon thewhites.
5. Slaves are prosecuted and tried upon criminal accusations, in manyof the states, without a jury.
The condition of the slave, as regards emancipation, is peculiarly distressing.
The state of society in the slave holding states, and legislative enactments,have rendered it nearly impossible for any master to emancipatehis slave.
In Virginia and Mississippi, an emancipated slave may be taken inexecution to satisfy any debt, contracted by the person emancipatinghim, previous to such emancipation.
In Kentucky, the Act which authorises emancipation, contains areservation of the rights of creditors.
In Louisiana, any enfranchisement made in fraud of creditors, &c.is null and void.
In South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, it is only byauthority of the Legislature, specially granted, that a valid emancipationcan be made.
In North Carolina it was enacted in 1777, that no negro or mulattoslave shall be hereafter set free, except for meritorious service to be adjudgedof and allowed by the County Court, and license first had andobtained thereupon.
The laws of Kentucky, Missouri, Virginia and Maryland, affordgreater facility to emancipation than the other slave holding states. InVirginia, however, there is a provision by which every emancipatednegro, over twenty one years of age, who shall continue within the statemore than twelve months after his right to freedom shall have accrued,may be again reduced to slavery.
In order to secure the slave holding states in the use and possessionof their property in the persons of slaves, and to prevent all escape ofslaves from their masters, the constitution of the United States provides,“That no person held to service or labor in one state, under thelaws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law