Slavery Agitation in Virginia, 1829-1832

By Theodore Marshall Whitfield | Go to book overview

PREFACE

During the fourth decade of the nineteenth century Virginia's attitude towards slavery underwent a profound change. The negro had long presented a difficult problem. Slavery was early considered a curse, and endeavor was made to prohibit the importation of Africans, but against the royal veto nothing could be done. While the Revolution was yet in progress the General Assembly banned the traffic in negroes and repealed the colonial prohibition on manumission. To ameliorate the condition of the negro became the object of anti-slavery sentiment. During the last quarter of the eighteenth century abolition societies flourished, while from the dawn of the nineteenth colonization loomed constantly larger in the public mind. The tide of antislavery feeling was rising.

Abruptly all this was changed. By 1835 antislavery feeling had reached its greatest strength and was already receding. Its champions were few and hard pressed. Virginia had turned to the defence of slavery. In the following pages the author has endeavored to portray the events and circumstances which were productive of this change.

To Dr. John H. Latané of the Johns Hopkins University, under whose guidance and direction this study was carried on, the author wishes to express his appreciation and thanks. From the late Dr. Edward

-vii-

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