Immigration to Virginia
January 17, 1868
The return of Southerners to Virginia will be extremely beneficial to the South as these "immigrants" will work hard to rebuild the beloved state. Northern immigrants will also flood Virginia, their motivation mostly economic. Any economic activity is much needed as Virginia's economy is low.
Immigration to Virginia. The State of Virginia is to profit from two currents of immigration-one from the North and one from the South. The latter will be composed almost entirely of her own children-her own flesh and blood. They will be heartily welcome to their old homes and the homes of their fathers, and will no doubt devote their energies, heart and soul, to the restoration of the beloved old State to prosperity and happiness. There is no better specimen of man on earth than the Virginian. In all the new Territories, while their communities were being formed and assuming the shape and order of bodies-politic, Virginians have taken the lead and performed the most important services. The great bulk of those who emigrated from their State were driven off by the institution of slavery, which rooted fast the negro to the soil and drove off the rising generation of whites, for the want of occupation at home, to seek employment in distant lands. The return of these long-absent people will be a gratifying event. They will do more than any other class of people to retrieve the fortunes of their mother State. It is impossible that the better class of whites-those of spirit and energy to make them useful citizens-can remain in communities where negroes are largely predominant. Their government will be intolerant; and the ruling power at Washington is determined that they shall govern where they are in numerical ascendancy. Hayti tells the story. And even though those in the South may not altogether imitate that country, their policy cannot be favorable to order or prosperous industry. So, unless by some providential interposition that may arrest the Radical policy, many parts of the Gulf States will be abandoned to negroes. From these will come back to the Border the unhappy citizens who have in former years gone to those ill-fated localities. The share of Virginia from this returning tide of population must be large and of eminent advantage to her general welfare. On the other hand, we may anticipate from the North a most valuable influx of people. The rich mineral resources of the State, its water-power and its fine lands, are too tempting to be neglected by the capitalists and enterprising people of even New England. They will come in large numbers. They will bring capital, they will bring skill, they will bring labor. All greatly needed here; all destined to find in Virginia a richer reward than is held out from any other part of this continent. Nor is there any prejudices against these people here. They will be cordially received in spite of their peculiarities. "We know their value and their merits. Their foibles will be soon modified under the genial and gentle influence of the Virginia sun and the Virginia atmosphere. Not to speak of foreign immigration, these two sources of increase in energy and means are destined to work a great revolution in Virginia; and we shall soon begin to experience the results of their influx.
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“Immigration to Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed December 12, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/783.