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Page 7 of The anti-slavery movement in Kentucky prior to 1850

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Introduction 7 p revious to 1790, when, according to the first federal census, t hey constituted 16.9 per cent, of the total population. T h e leading slaveholding section i n 1790 was the central p art of the state, commonly known as the Blue Grass region. D u r i n g t he next three d ecades s laveholding extended eastward a nd s outheastward to the mountainous districts and quite g enerally o ver t he western and southern parts of the state. T he p ercentage of the slave population i n 1790 varied i n the d ifferent counties from 8 to 20 per cent, of the total. B y 1850 i t w as equal to that of the white population i n several of the c ounties i n the Blue Grass region, while i n the mountainous c ounties along the eastern border i t did not exceed 2 o r 3 per c ent. 6 7 S ince i t is obvious that the growth of slavery i n K e n t u c k y m ust depend upon the system of agriculture, i t may be important t o notice at this point the various products of the state i n t he early period. Although no record was made by the census d epartment of the agricultural products i n the states b efore 1840 and l ittle a ccurate information on the s ubject i s available, s ome m aterial has b een f ound to indicate the k i n d a nd the value of the principal products of farm and factory. I n 1789 L o r d D orchester (Sir G u y Carleton), the Governor General of Canada, i n a l etter to L o r d S idney said that "the cultivated products" of K e n t u c k y were " I n d i a n corn, wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc., a nd t obacco, w hich latter article is raised i n considerable quantities b y slaves, as practiced i n V i r g i n i a . " F urthermore he e xpressed the opinion that "of all the forms of cultivation of w hich t he c olony i s susceptible, that which would be at o nce m ore p rofitable to the settlers* * * w ould be the rearing of flocks." H e n r y B . Fearon i n his "Sketches of A m e r i c a " gives t he value of the exports of K e n t u c k y for 1818 a s : 8 9 10 F l o u r a nd Wheat P ork, B acon and L a r d W hiskey T obacco C ordage, H e m p and Fabrics of H e m p W o o l and Fabrics of W o o l and C o t t o n C attle ' $1 ,000 ,000 350 ,000 5 00,000 1 ,900 ,000 500 ,000 100 ,000 2 00,000 Draper M S S . : Vol. 4, p. 503. Table note 5. > Ibid. Canadian Archives, 1890, p. 119. Ibid. " H enry B. Fearon: "Sketches of America," p. 238. See also, Timothy Flint: "History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley," Vol. 1. p. 351; J. L. Allen: " T h e Blue Grass Region of Kentucky," p. 53.