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Gerrit Smith Broadside and Pamphlet Collection

Circular.

Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874.

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Call number: Smith 458


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CIRCULAR.


PETERBORO, May 1st, 1849.

TO

of the County of

DEAR SIRS, -

I still have Village and City property: - but on the larger share of it there remains; and must long retrain, a very great debt. The debt due to the State of New York on my other land will, I hope, he paid, within the coming year. All, or nearly all, such of this land; as shall, then, remain upon my hands, I shall wish to give away. There will, perhaps, be enough of it to enable me to make gifts to a thousand persons. These persons trust be white inhabitants of the State of New York; must be between the ages of 21 and 60; must be virtuous, landless, and poor; and must be entirely clear of the vice of drinking intoxicating liquors. Moreover, they must, in each County, be taken from the sexes, in equal numbers.

Along with each gift of land, there will be a gift of ten dollars in money. Where the land is worth removing to, and where there is a disposition to remove to it, this money will help defray the expense of removal. In, perhaps, every case, it will be sufficient to pay the two or three years taxes now due, and also the taxes for a number of years to come.

Each County, except Madison; is to share in the proposed gifts, and each according to the amount of its population. I shall not be blamed for making this exception, by any, who are aware, that, in some two hundred and fifty instances, I have given to inhabitants of the County of Madison either land, or money to enable them to buy land. Nor shall I be blasted, for distributing the thousand parcels of land among white persons exclusively, by any, who are informed, that three thousand colored persons have received deeds of land from me, entirely free of all charge either for the land, or for the expense of the perfected deeds thereof. I will remark here, that the deeds of the thousand parcels will be made, acknowledged, and prepared for record, at my own expense.

The number of beneficiaries in each County will be as follows:

[col. 1]
Albany, - - - 30
Allegany, - - - 16
Broome, - - - 10
Cattaraugus, - - - 12
Cayuga, - - - 20
Chautauque,- - - 18
Chemung, - - - 8
Chenango, - - - 16
Clinton, - - - 12
Columbia,- - - 16
Cortland, - - - 10
Delaware, - - - 14
Dutchess, - - - 22
Erie,- - - 32
Essex, - - - 10
Franklin, - - - 8
Fulton, - - - 6
Genesee, - - - 10
Greene, - - - 12
Hamilton, - - - 2

[col. 2.]
Herkimer, - -14
Jefferson, - - - 26
Kings, - - - 32
Lewis, - - - 8
Livingston, - - - 12
Monroe, - - - 28
Montgomery, - - - 12
New York, - - - 150
Niagara, - - - 14
Oneida, - - - 34
Onondaga, - - - 28
Ontario, - - - 16
Orleans, - - - 10
Oswego, - - - 22
Otsego, - - - 20
Putnam, - - - 4
Queens, - - - 12
Rensselaer, - - - 24
Richmond, - - - 4

[col. 3]
Rockland, - - - 4
Saratoga, - - - 16
Schenectady, - - - 6
Schoharie, - - - 12
Seneca, - - - 10
St. Lawrence, - - - 26
Steuben, - - - 20
Suffolk, - - -12
Sullivan, - - - 6
Tioga, - - - 8
Tompkins, - - - 14
Ulster, - - - 18
Warren, - - - 6
Washington, - -16
Wayne, - - - 16
Westchester, - - - 18
Wyoming, - - - 10
Yates, - - - 8
Total, - - 1000
[end cols.]

The next thing in this letter is to say; that I have a great favor to ask of you. It is, that you go to the pains of selecting the beneficiaries in your County; and that you do, by 1st March next, let me know their names and residence.

To guard the beneficiaries of your County against disappointment, I wish you would inform them, that most of the land is of an inferior quality; that it is probable, that, in some instances, it will prove to be unfit for farming; in some of little or no value either for farming or timber; and that it is possible (I trust, but barely possible) that, in some instances, my title will fail. You will, moreover, inform them, that in the event of my not having land enough to give each of the thousand a parcel, some of those chosen in your County may be left unsupplied. You are, however, authorized to say to them, that whoever of the thousand shall fail to get a parcel of land from me, shall get, instead thereof, forty dollars in money - and, - this too, in addition to the ten dollars. The fifty dollars will enable its possessor to buy forty acres of Government land. I hope, that it will be expended in some land or other: - for one of my deepest convictions is, that every person, who can, should make himself the acknowledged owner of a piece of land. His doing so would hasten the clay, when the right to the soil shall be, every where, acknowledged to be as absolute, universal, and equal, as the right to the light and the air. May that blessed day come quickly! - for, until it does come, our world will be one of disorder, oppression, poverty, vice: - and, let me add, that it never will come, until the religion and politics, the Churches and Governments of the world shall be so imbued with the spirit of justice and brotherly love, as to call for the coming of that day.

The parcel for each beneficiary will, probably, vary from 30 to 60 acres. In a few instances, it may exceed 60; and, in a few, where its value may be far above the average of the parcels, it may be less than half of 30.

All the land is in the State of New York.

Respectfully, your friend,

GERRIT SMITH.

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