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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 598   View pdf image (33K)
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598
ed—a benefit to the white race, to the negro
race, and a grand step in the progress of civ-
ilization and Christianity. Now the simple
truth is the exact opposite of this. To over-
throw the present relation of the races, is to
injure both the while man and the negro, and
to inflict a deadly blow upon the cause of
humanity, civilization. and Christianity. We
only need to approach this subject in a spirit
of candid inquiry, and to bring it to the
touch-stone of fact. It is proposed to show
in the following pages:
" First. The effects of emancipation in the
Northern States in the increase of crime, pau-
perism and vice among the freed negroes.
"Second. Its results in the West India is-
lands, where it has ruined production, de-
stroyed commerce, and where the negro is fast
relapsing into his original African savagism.
" Third. The effect of free-negroism upon
the commerce, wealth and business of the
world, and especially upon the white labor-
ing and producing classes, in producing a
scarcity of tropical productions and a consequent
increase of price, thus allowing negro
idleness to tax white labor.
" The inherent right or wrong of any mea-
sure may he fairly determined by its effect.
That which produces crime, pauperism, im-
morality, poverty and misery, cannot in the
nature of things be right. Theories vanish
before the stern arbiter of facts, and to that
unerring tribunal we appeal,"
Now I invite the attention of gentlemen to
the reports of the benevolent associations in
New England of the effects of abolition upon
this class of people. Shortly after emanci-
pation began in Pennsylvania in 1780, Ben-
jamin Franklin issued an appeal for aid to
his society "to form a plan tor the promo-
tion of industry, intelligence and morality
among the free blacks."
"How far Franklin's benevolent scheme
had fallen short of his anticipations, may be
judged of from the fact that forty-seven
years after Pennsylvania had passed her act
of emancipation, one-third of the convicts
in her penitentiaries were negroes or mulat-
toes. Some of the other States were even in
a worse condition, one-half of the convicts in
the penitentiary of New Jersey being freed
negroes. Bat Massachusetts was almost a
badly off as appears from the report of the
Boston Discipline Society."
Now this comes from the land of steady
habits, where began this crusade of liberty
from that very elegant society, the Mutual
Admiration Society, of which I believe the
Hon. Edward Everett has the honor of being
President about this time.
" This benevolent association included
among its members, Rev. Francis Wayland
Rev. Austin Edwards, Rev. Leonard Woods
Rev. William Varies, Rev. B. B. Wisner
Rev. Edward Beecher, Lewis Tappan, Esq
John Tappan, Esq., Hon. John Bliss, and
Hon. Samuel M. Hopkins, in the first an-
nual report of the society, dated June 2d,
1826."
See how short a time it was before 1831,
when Maryland had to adopt this self-protect-
ing policy.
They enter into an investigation "of the
progress of crime, with the causes of it,"
from which we make the following extract:
" Degraded character of the colored popu-
lation."
This was in 1826. Slavery had not exist-
ed in Massachusetts since the days of the Re-
volution. And certainly there had been an
opportunity given, under the refinement of
the Christianity and education of Massachu-
setts for the free negro to rise to the dignity
and stature of manhood, and to show his
capacity to enjoy the rights of a freeman,
when left to enjoy the wages of his labor.
But what was the result?
"The first cause existing in society of
the frequency and increase of crime is the
degraded character of the colored population.
The facts, which are gathered from the peni-
tentiaries, to show how great a proportion of
the convicts are colored, even in those States
where the colored population is small, show
most strikingly the connection between ig-
norance and vice."
''The report proceeds to sustain its asser-
tions by statistics, which prove that in Mas-
sachusetts, where the free colored people con-
stituted one seventy-fourth part of the popu-
lation, they supplied one-sixth part of the
convicts in her penitentiary; that in New
York, where the free colored people constitu-
ted one thirty-fifth part of the population,
they supplied more than one-fourth part of
the convicts; that in Connecticut and Penn-
sylvania, where the colored people constitu-
ted one thirty-fourth part of the population,
they supplied more than one-third part of the
convicts, and that in New Jersey, where the
colored people constituted one-thirteenth part
of the population, they supplied more than
one-third part of the convicts."
" In the second annual report of the society,
dated June 1st, 1827, the subject is again
alluded to, and tables are given, showing
more fully the degraded character of the freed
negro population. '' The returns from the
several prisons " says the report, "show that
the white convicts are remaining nearly the"
same, or are diminishing, while the colored
convicts are increasing. At the same time
the white population is increasing in the
Northern States much faster than the colored
population,"
And he goes on to give a table.
Mr. STOCKBRIDGE. From what do you read?
Mr. JONES. I read from a pamphlet enti-
tled " Free negroism, or results of emancipa-
tion in the North, and the West India Is-
lands: with statistics of the decay of com-
merce, idleness of the negro, his return to


 
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Proceedings and Debates of the 1864 Constitutional Convention
Volume 102, Volume 1, Debates 598   View pdf image (33K)
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