Slavery Agitation in Virginia, 1829-1832

By Theodore Marshall Whitfield | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
REPRESSION

If the attempts to abolish slavery and colonize the free black be considered direct consequences of the Insurrection, petitions from Petersburg, Charles City, New Kent, Buckingham, and Culpeper counties may be deemed indirect or secondary effects. Not that the conditions of which they complained arose suddenly, but in the widespread will to treat the negro problem the petitioners found stimulus and support. These petitions were nourished by the disturbed condition of the public mind.

The progressive invasion of their trade by negroes, free and slave, produced in the breasts of white mechanics a spirit of antagonism and drove the more bold to settle their affairs and join the steady stream of emigrants coursing down the western side of the mountains. An "unprecedented migration of the labouring classes"1 during the fall of 1831 disturbed the landowners of Culpeper. Taught by abolitionists and removalists, they prayed the interposition of the legislature.

Though slaveholders, in some instances owners of mechanic slaves," they advised the passage of a law prohibiting the apprenticing of negroes to learn

____________________
1
MS. Petitions to the Legislature, 1831, Culpeper, December 9.

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