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you all the offices, and you have given us none of the benefits of legislation ; though we have fought the battles of the South, while you were either lolling in your piazzas
, or playing the tory, and endeavoring to filch from us our birthright of freedom ; though you have absorbed the wealth of our communities in sending your own children to Northern seminaries and colleges, or in employing Yan. kee teachers to officiate exclusively in your own families, and have refused to us the limited privilege of common schools ; though you have scorned to patronize our mechanics and industrial enterprises, and have passed to the North for every article of apparel, utility, and adornment; and though you have maltreated, outraged and defrauded us in every relation of life, civil, social, and political
, yet we are willing to forgive and forget you, if you will but do us justice on a single count. Of you, the introducers, aiders and abettors of slavery, we demand indemnification for the damage our lands have sustained on account thereof ; the amount of that damage is $7,544,148,825; and now, Sirs, we are ready to receive the money, and if it is perfectly convenient to you, we would be glad to have you pay it in specie! It will not avail you, Sirs, to parley or prevaricate. We must have a settlement. Our claim is just and overdue. We have already indulged you too long. Your criminal extravagance has almost ruined us. We are determined that you shall no longer play the profligate, and fair sumptuously every day at our expense. Ilow do you propose to settle? Do you offer us your negroes in part payment? We do not want your negroes. We would not have all of them, nor any number of them,
even as a gift. We hold ourselves above the disreputa-
Balance due Non-slaveholders...... $5,944,148,825 Now, Sirs, we ask you in all seriousness, Is it not true that you have filched from us nearly five times the amount of the assessed value of your slaves ? Why, then, do you still clamor for more? Is it your purpose to make the game perpetual ? Think you that we will ever continue to bow at the wave of your wand, that we will bring
would be worth, at $28,07 per acre, $4,856,873,680 ! The former sum, deducted from the latter, leaves a balance of $3,933,535,520, and to the full extent of this amount will your lands be increased in value whenever you abolish slavery ; that is, provided you abolish it before it completely “dries up all the organs of increase." Here is a more manifest and distinct statement of the case :Estimated value of slaveholders' lands after slavery
$4,856,783,680 shall have been abolished.... Present value of slaveholders' lands..
923,248,160 Probable aggregate enhancement of value ...... $3,933,535,520
Now, Sirs, this last sum is considerably more than twice as great as the estimate value of your negroes; and those of you,
if any there be, who are yet heirs to sane minds and honest hearts, must, it seems to us, admit that the bright prospect which freedom presents for a wonderful increase in the value of real estate, ours as well as yours, to say nothing of the thousand other kindred considerations, ought to be quite sufficient to induce all the Southern States, in their sovereign capacity, to abolish slavery at the earliest practical period. You yourselves, instead of losing anything by the emancipation of your negrocseven though we suppose them to be worth every dime of $1,600,000,000~would, in this one particular, the increased value of land, realize a net profit of over twenty three hundred milions of dollars! Here are the exact figures :Net increment of value which it is estimated will
accrue to slaveholders' lands in consequence $3,933,535,520
of the abolition of slavery Putative value of the slaves....
Slaveholders' estimated net landed profits of eman. $2,333,535,520
What is the import of these figures ? They are full of meaning. They proclaim themselves the financial intercessors for freedom, and, with that open-hearted liberality which is so characteristic of the sacred cause in whose behalf they plead, they propose to pay you upward of three thousand nine hundred millions of dollars for the very "property" which you, in all the reckless extravagance of your inhuman avarice, could not find a heart to price at more than one thousand six hundred millions. In other words, your own lands, groaning and languishing under the monstrous burden of slavery, announce their willing. ness to pay you all you ask for the negroes, and offer you, besides, a bonus of more than twenty-three hundred millions of dollars, if you will but convert those lands into free soil ! Our lands, also, cry aloud to be spared from the further pollutions and desolations of slavery; and now, Sirs, we want to know explicitly whether, or not, it is your intention to heed these lamentations of the ground? We want to know whether you are men or devils—whether you are entirely selfish and cruelly dishonest, or whether you have any respect for the rights of others. We, the non-slaveholders of the South, have many very important interests at stake-interests which, heretofore, you have steadily despised and trampled under foot, but which, henceforth, we shall foster and defend in utter defiance of all the unhallowed influences which it is possible for you, or any other class of slaveholders or slavebreeders to bring against us. Not the least among these interests is our landed property, which, to command a decent price, only needs to be disencumbered of slavery.
In his present condition, we believe man exercises one of the noblest virtues with which heaven has endowed him, when, without taking any undue advantage of his fellowmen, and with a firm, unwavering purpose to confine his expenditures to the legitimate pursuits and pleasures of life, he covets money and strives to accumulate it. Entertaining this view, and having no disposition to make an improper use of money, we are free to confess that we have a greater penchant for twenty-eight dollars than for five; for ninety than for fifteen; for a thousand than for one hundred. South of Mason and Dixon's line we, the nonslaveholders, have 331,902,720 acres of land, the present average market value of which, as previously stated, is only $5,34 per acre ; by abolishing slavery we expect to enhance the value to an average of at least $28,07 per acre, and thus realize an average net increase of wealth of more than seventy-five hundred millions of dollars. The hope of realizing smaller sums has frequently induced men to perpetrate acts of injustice; we can see no reason why the certainty of becoming immensely rich in real estate, or other property, should make us falter in the performance of a sacred duty.
As illustrative of our theme, a bit of personal history may not be out of place in this connection. Only a few months have elapsed since we sold to an elder brother an interest we held in an old homestead which was willed to us many years ago by our dear departed father. The tract of land, containing two hundred acres, or thereabouts, is situated two and a half miles west of Mocksville, the capital of Davie county, North Carolina, and is very nearly