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It is against slavery on the whole, and against slaveholders as a body, that we wage an exterminating war. Those persons who, under the infamous slave-laws of the South-laws which have been correctly spoken of as a "disgrace to civilization," and which must be annulled simultaneously with the abolition of slavery-have had the vile institution entailed on them contrary to their wills, are virtually on our side; we may, therefore, very properly strike them off from the black list of three hundred and forty-seven thousand slaveholders, who, as a body, have shocked the civilized world with their barba rous conduct, and from whose conceited and presumptu ous ranks are selected the officers who do all the legisla tion, town, county, state and national, for (against) five millions of poor outraged whites, and three millions of enslaved negroes.
Non-slaveholders of the South! farmers, mechanics and workingmen, we take this occasion to assure you that the slaveholders, the arrogant demagogues whom you have elected to offices of honor and profit, have hoodwinked you, trifled with you, and used you as mere tools for the consummation of their wicked designs. They have purposely kept you in ignorance, and have, by moulding your passions and prejudices to suit themselves, induced you to act in direct opposition to your dearest rights and interests. By a system of the grossest subterfuge and misre presentation, and in order to avert, for a season, the ven geance that will most assuredly overtake them ere long, they have taught you to hate the abolitionists, who are your best and only true friends. Now, as one of your
own number, we appeal to you to join us in our patriotic
proper time for action; under all the circumstances, apathy or indifference is a crime. First ascertain, as nearly as you can, the precise nature and extent of your duty, and then, without a moment's delay, perform it in good faith. To facilitate you in determining what considerations of right, justice and humanity require at your hands, is one of the primary objects of this work; and we shall certainly fail in our desire if we do not accomplish our task in a manner acceptable to God and advantageous to
But we are carrying this chapter beyond all ordinary bounds; and yet, there are many important particulars in which we have drawn no comparison between the free and the slave States. The more weighty remarks which we intended to offer in relation to the new States of the West and Southwest, free and slave, shall appear in the succeeding chapter. With regard to agriculture, and all the multifarious interests of husbandry, we deem it quite unnecessary to say more. Cotton has been shorn of its magic power, and is no longer King; dried grass, commonly called hay, is, it seems, the rightful heir to the throne. Commerce, Manufactures, Literature, and other important subjects, shall be considered as we progress.
PRELIMINARY to our elucidation of what we conceive to be the most discreet, fair and feasible plan for the abolition of slavery, we propose to offer a few additional reasons why it should be abolished. Among the thousand and one arguments that present themselves in support of our position-which, before we part with the reader, we shall endeavor to define so clearly, that it shall be regarded as ultra only by those who imperfectly understand it is the influence which slavery invariably exercises in depressing the value of real estate; and as this is a matter in which the non-slaveholders of the South, of the West, and of the Southwest, are most deeply interested, we shall discuss it in a sort of preamble of some length.
The oligarchs say we cannot abolish slavery without infringing on the right of property. Again we tell them we do not recognize property in man; but even if we did, and if we were to inventory the negroes at quadruple, the value of their last assessment, still, impelled by a sense of duty to others, and as a matter of simple justice to ourselves, we, the non-slaveholders of the South, would be fully warranted in emancipating all the slaves at once, and that, too, without any compensation whatever to
those who claim to be their absolute masters and owners. We will explain. In 1850, the average value per acre, of land in the Northern States was $28,07; in the Northwestern $11,39; in the Southern $5,34; and in the Southwestern $6,26. Now, in consequence of numerous natural advantages, among which may be enumerated the greater mildness of climate, richness of soil, deposits of precious metals, abundance and spaciousness of harbors, and super excellence of water-power, we contend that, had it not been for slavery, the average value of land in all the Southern and Southwestern States, would have been at least equal to the average value of the same in the Northern States. We conclude, therefore, and we think the conclusion is founded on principles of equity, that you, the slaveholders, are indebted to us, the non-slaveholders, in the sum of $22,73, which is the difference between $28,07 and $5,34, on every acre of Southern soil in our possession. This claim we bring against you, because slavery, which has inured exclusively to your own benefit, if, indeed, it has been beneficial at all, has shed a blight ing influence over our lands, thereby keeping them out of market, and damaging every acre to the amount specified. Sirs are you ready to settle the account? Let us see how much it is. There are in the fifteen slave States, 346,048 slaveholders, and 544,926,720 acres of land. Now the object is to ascertain how many acres are owned by slaveholders, and now many by non-slaveholders. Suppose we estimate five hundred acres as the average landed property of each slaveholder; will that be fair? We think it will, taking into consideration the fact that 174,503