Imágenes de páginas

half of inhabitants for example’s sake only. Yet I am persuaded it is a greater number than the country spoken of, considering how much inarable land it contains, can clothe and feed, without a material change in the quality of their diet. But are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a multiplication of numbers by the importation of foreigners ? It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in malters which they must of necessity transact together. Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent. Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason. To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies, Yet, from such, we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty. These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its directions, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass.

I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures. But, if they be not certain in event, are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience 27 years and three months longer, for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected ? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable ? Suppose 20 millions of republican americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what

would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may beJieve that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. If they come of themselves, they are entitled to all the rights of citizenship: but I doubt the expediency of inviting them by extraordinary encouragements. I mean not that these doubts should be extended to the importation of useful artificers. The policy of that measure depends on very different considerations. Spare no expense in obtaining them. They will after a while go to the plough and the hoe; but, in the mean time, they will teach us something we do not know. It is not so in agriculture. The indifferent state of that among us does not proceed from a want of knowledge merely; it is from our having such quantities of land to waste as we please. In Europe the object is to make the most of their land, labour being abundant; here it is to make the most of our labour, land being abundant.

It will be proper to explain how the numbers for the year 1782 have been obtained; as it was not from a perfect census of the inhabitants. It will at the same time develope the proportion between the free inhabi. tants and slaves. The following return of taxable articles for that year was given in:

53,289 free males above 21 years of age. 211,698 slaves of all ages and sexes. 23,766 not distinguished in the returns, but said to

be tytheable slaves. 195,439 horses. 609,734 cattle. 5,126 wheels of riding-carriages.

191 taverns.

There were no returns from the eight counties of Lincoln, Jefferson, Fayette, Monongahelia, Yohogania, Ohio, Northampton and York. To find the number of slaves which should have been returned instead of the 23,766 tytheables, we must mention that some observa

[ocr errors][merged small]

tions on a former census had given reason to believe that the numbers above and below 16 years of age were equal. The double of this number, therefore to wit, 47,532 must be added to 211,698, which will give us 259,230 slaves of all ages and sexes.

To find the number of free inhabitants, we must repeat the observation, that those above and below 16 are nearly equal. But as the number 53,289 omits the males below 16 and 21 we must supply them from conjecture. On a former experiment it had appeared that about one third of our militia, that is, of the males between 16 and 50, were unmarried. Knowing how early marriage takes place here, we shall not be far wrong in supposing that the unmarried part of our militia are those between 16 and 21. If there be young men who do not marry till after 21, there are many who marry before that age. But as the men above 50 were not included in the militia, we will suppose the unmarried, or those between 16'and 21, to be one-fourth of the whole number above 16, then we have the following calculation:

53,289 free males above 21 years of age.
17,763 free males between 16 and 21.
71,052 free males under 16.
142,104 free males of all ages.

284,208 free inhabitants of all ages. 259,230 slaves of all ages.

543,438 inhabitants, exclusive of the eight counties from which were no returns. In these eight counties in the years 1779 and 1780, were 3,161 militia. Say then,

3,161 free males above the age of 16.
3,161 ditto under 16.
6,322 free females.

12,644 free inhabitants in these eight counties. To find the number of slaves, say, as 284,208 to 259,230, so

is 12,644 to 11,532. Adding the third of these numbers to the first, and the fourth to the second, we have,

296,852 free inhabitants. 270,762 slaves.

567,614 inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition. But 296,852, the number of free inbabitants, are to 270,762, the number of slaves, nearly as 11 to 10. Under the mild treatment our slaves experience, and their wholesome, though coarse food, this blot in our country increases as fast, or faster, than the whites. During the regal government, we had at one time obtained a law, which imposed such a duty on the importation of slaves, as amounted nearly to a prohibition, when one inconsiderate assembly, placed under a peculiarity of circumstance repealed the law. This repeal met a joyful sanction from the then sovereign, and no devices, no expedients, which could ever after be attempted by subsequent assemblies, and they seldom met without attempting them, could succeed in getting the royal assent to a renewal of the duty. In the very first session held under the republican government, the assembly passed a law for the perpetual prohibition of the importation of slaves. This will in some measure stop the increase of this great political and moral evil, while the minds of our citizens may be ripening for a complete emancipation of human nature.



The number and condition of the militia and regular troops, and their

The following is a state of the militia, taken from returns of 1780 and 1781, except in those counties marked with an asterisk, the returns froin which are somewhat older.

Every able bodied freeman, between the ages of 16 and 50 is enrolled in the militia. Those of every coun

ty are formed into companies, and these again into one or more battalions, according to the numbers in the county. They are commanded by colonels, and other subordinate officers, as in the regular service. In every county is a county lieutenant, who commands the whole militia of his county, but ranks only as a colonel in the field. We have no general officers always existing. These are appointed occasionally, when an invasion or insurrection happens, and their commission determines with the occasion. The governor is head of the military, as well as civil. The law requires every inilitiaman to provide himself with the arms usual in the regular service. But this injunction was always indifferently complied with, and the arms they had, have been so frequently called for to arm the regulars, that in the lower parts of the country they are entirely disarmed. In the middle country a fourth or fifth part of them may have such firelocks as they had provided to destroy the noxious animals which infest their farms; and on the western side of the Blue ridge they are generally armed with rifles. The pay of our militia, as well as of our regulars, is that of the continental regulars. The condition of our regulars, of whom we have none but continentals, and part of a battalion of state troops, is so constantly on the change, that a state of it at this day would not be its state a month hence. It is much the same with the condition of the other continental troops, which is well enough known.


The marine ?

Before the present invasion of this state by the British under the command of General Phillips, we had three vessels of 16 guns, one of 14, five small gallies, and two or three armed boats. They were generally so badly manned as seldom to be in a condition for service. Since the perfect possession of our rivers as

« AnteriorContinuar »