Between 1790 and 1860 the proportion of colored to total population is seen to fall from over 19 per cent to but little in excess of 14 per cent—a decrease of fully one fourth. In the half-century which elapsed between the date of the first census and 1840, during which time immigration was very slight, it decreased not less than 244 per cent, although for one third of this period the slave-trade was being carried on.
Such being the history of the negroes in ante-bellum days, when they were property, and when every consideration of self-interest prompted their owners to watch over their health, to encourage child-bearing, and to protect and preserve the children, is it to be supposed for a moment that this careless, improvident, ignorant race, thrown suddenly upon its own resources, should at once, or within a generation, take on a rate of increase more rapid than before emancipation? The wonder is, that in the past twenty years they have not fallen further behind.
Considering the colored race in this country as a whole, it is seen that it has not held its own, either in a state of slavery or thus far in freedom. It is but another illustration of the fact, that an inferior race can not thrive side by side with a superior one. It would seem, therefore, under the circumstances, more profitable to study ways and means for preserving and strengthening the manual labor element of the South, rather than to debate the methods of getting rid of it.
In “An Appeal to Cæsar,” by Judge Tourgee, the question of the future of the colored element is discussed from a somewhat different point of view. Without committing himself as to the increase or decrease of the colored element in the country at large, in proportion to the whites, the author finds, upon a somewhat superficial study of the statistics bearing upon the question, that in the South Atlantic and Gulf States the negroes have increased decidedly in proportion to the whites, while in those States which he classes as border States they have relatively decreased. This massing of the negroes in what may, for convenience, be denominated the cotton States, coupled with the steady sharpening of the line of separation between the two races—a line which, as the author claims, becomes more and more accentuated