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The Continental Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 5, May, 1862 Devoted To Literature And National Policy   By:

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[Transcriber's note: Footnotes at end of document]

THE CONTINENTAL MONTHLY:

DEVOTED TO

LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY

VOL. I. MAY, 1862. No. V.

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH IT?

The first blood that was shed in our Revolutionary struggle, was in Boston, in March, 1770. The next at Lexington, in June, 1775.

The interval was filled with acts of coercion and oppression on the one side and with complaints and remonstrances on the other. But the thought of Independence was entertained by very few of our people, even for some time after the affair at Lexington. Loyalty to the mother country was professed even by those most clamorous in their complaints, and sincerely so, too. The great majority thought that redress of grievances could be obtained without severance from Great Britain.

But events hurried the people on, and that which was scarcely spoken of at the beginning of the struggle, soon became its chief object.

Is it not the same with our present contest with the South? We took up arms to defend the Constitution, to sustain our Government, to maintain the Union; and in the course of performing that work, it would seem as if Emancipation was forced upon us, and as if it was yet to be the prime object in view.

Lo! how much has already been done toward that end, even though not originally intended! As our armies advance into the enemies' country, thousands of slaves are practically emancipated by the flight and desertion of their rebel masters. The rules and articles of war have been so altered by Congress as to forbid our military forces from returning to bondage any who flee from it. The President has proposed, and Congress has entertained, the proposition of aiding the States in emancipation. Fremont, who has been regarded as the representative of the emancipation feeling, has been restored to active command. And multitudes of our people, who have hitherto considered themselves as bound by the Constitution not to interfere with the subject, have become open in the avowal that as slavery has been the cause of the evil, so it must now be wiped out forever.

It would seem, therefore, as if it was inevitable that the question of emancipation is to be thrust upon us, and we must be prepared to meet it. It is in this view, and irrespective of the question of right and wrong in slavery, that some considerations present themselves, which can not be ignored.

The difference of race between the white and the negro will ever keep them apart, and forbid their amalgamation. One or the other must ultimately go to the wall, and it is worth our while to see what time is doing with the question: 'Which must it be in this country?'

Hence it is important to note the progress of both the races with us.

In the course of seventy years, that is, from the census of 1790 to that of 1860, the slave population has increased from 697,897 to 4,002,996. So that our colored population is now six times as great as when our Government was formed.

During the same period the free population has increased from 3,231,975 to 27,280,070, or nearly nine times as great as in 1790. Of this increase about 3,000,000 is the result of emigration; so that the native born population has increased to about 24,000,000, or about eight times as many as in the beginning of our Government. If due allowance be made for those born of emigrant parents,[A] it would seem that the two races have about kept pace with each other in their natural increase.

A more minute examination, however, will show that the natural increase of the colored race has been in a greater ratio than that of the whites, native born to the soil.

The following tables will show how this is, both as to the colored and the white races.

INCREASE OF SLAVE POPULATION.

Years. No. of Slaves. Increase. Per ct. of Increase.

1790, 697,897 1800, 893,041 195,144 28 1810, 1,191,364 298,323 32 1820, 1,538,064 346,700 29 1830, 2,009,031 470,967 29 1840, 2,487,855 478,324 24 1850, 3,204,313 716,958 29 1860, 4,002,996 798,683 25

The average increase in every ten years during the seventy years has been about 28 per cent... Continue reading book >>


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