Slavery Agitation in Virginia, 1829-1832

By Theodore Marshall Whitfield | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
THE SLAVERY DEBATE IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 1831-32

To the General Assembly the State turned for relief from the danger of such outrages as so recently had wet her soil with blood. While some demanded the abolition of slavery and others the revision and strengthening of the militia, the fervent hope and acute interest of all brought the discussion in the legislature, in an unwonted degree, into the homes and lives of the people.

The members of this notable session of the General Assembly had unfortunately been elected without reference to this most pressing question. Even the new members had campaigned on other issues and achieved success months before Nat projected slavery into the limelight of political attention. Though the Assembly was lacking in an expression of the will of their constituents upon this issue, it was not lacking in ability. The older leaders of the Convention had passed, giving place to that younger group we noticed above. Nature, association with the patriarchs of a former day, and experience combined to fit them for the momentous task. Chief among them were James McDowell, soon to be governor and congressman, Charles Faulkner, later

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