Niles Register (Baltimore, Maryland),
September 10, 1831
Virginia— The troops that marched from Richmond to Southampton have returned. Several of the black taken prisoner have already been condemned to death. There is a great deal of force, and truth too, in the following remarks from the Boston Courier on this subject—
We infer, from the tone of the newspaper in Virginia, that the public will not be
satisfied with anything less than the total extermination of the murderers. Public
justice would strike only at the leaders, for they, and those whose injudicious
philanthropy excites their disaffection still more than they, are fairly accountable for
the mischief; but oppressed as Virginia is with the tremendous evil of slavery, it is to
be expected that men will take counsel of their fear, rather than their reason.
At an entertainment given at Petersburg to the Richmond light dragoons, John H. Pleasant, esq., offered the following toast: “Henry B. Vaughan—the Jerusalem publican, whose speculated upon the bones of his kindred, which the dragoons went to bury and avenge.”
The idea prevails, that because of the terrible events in Southampton, the white population, in case of like outrages in the future, will retaliate by an indiscriminate slaughter of the blacks—and such, we think, will probably take place !. Indeed, a few days since, in Charles City county, a rising of the negroes being feared, and armed body of white men shot down two blacks, because they attempted to run away. There is much fear and feeling in several of the lower counties of the state; and the white inhabitants seem to be in a constant excitement.
(A negro man supposed to be the famous gen. Nat, of the Southampton negroes, arrested and detained at Baltimore as a [p. 77] runaway slave—has been demanded by and given up to the executive of Virginia. Many of the prisoners have already been executed.)
The Fredericksburg [Virginia] Arena has the following remarks—It is gratifying to state that the language held by our editorial brethren of the North in relation to the late disastrous occurrences, is entirely unobjectionable. We have seen no taunts, no cant, no complacant dwelling upon the superior advantages of the non-slave holding states; on the contrary there has been a burst of generous sympathy, an unequivocal expression of horror at the scenes enacted by the deluded wretches. We have no doubt, that should it ever be necessary the citizens of the northern states would promptly fly to the assistance of their southern brethren—we speak of the vast majority—fanatics there are, doubtless, who so far from thus acting, would not very much scruple to forment disaffection, and excite servile insurrection.
Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 76-77.