Emancipation Sentiment Ascendant in Virginia
From: bernhard1848@att.net
The violent Nat Turner slave insurrection of August 1831 forced Southerners to confront the large black population among them, and the increasing threat of Northern abolitionists fomenting further violence.  The South had inherited the colonial slave labor system of England and later perpetuated by New England slave traders and cotton mills – and sought ways to rid their section of African bondsmen.  Had the Northern abolitionists offered practical assistance to Southerners like Governor Floyd of Virginia (below), the later war would have been averted, a million lives saved, and the Constitution left intact.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Emancipation Sentiment Ascendant in Virginia:
“News of the uprising spread across the South, accompanied by the fear that the plot extended beyond Virginia’s borders. The governor of South Carolina proposed to the governors of North Carolina and Virginia that they consult on joint action to forestall such events in the future. In New Bern, North Carolina, federal troops had to be brought in to calm the fears of the people that rebellion would spread to their slaves.
As far away as Louisiana the governor called the legislature into session, fearful that some Virginia slaves in Louisiana would have brought ideas of insurrection with them. Some Northern newspapers reported the spread of rebellion, though in fact no other uprising occurred.  Many years later, Daniel R. Goodloe, a North Carolina antislavery man, recalled the fear generated in Oxford, North Carolina: “I was then in my seventeenth year. I volunteered and had my first military service in marching over the town and neighborhood to suppress imaginary combinations of insurgent negroes.”
Goodloe’s recollection was a good deal calmer than the reaction at the time, especially in Virginia. Throughout the State, but especially in the tidewater area, where the slave population was concentrated, white men anticipated violence and bloodshed, if not worse. One sympathetic Northerner then visiting Virginia wrote that Virginians “lie down to sleep with fear. They hardly venture out on nights. A lady told me, that for weeks after the tragedy, she had quivered at every blast of wind, and every blow of the shutter.  Bolts and bars were tried, but the horrid fear haunted the whole population day and night.”
Between August and December, when the legislature was scheduled to meet, Virginians of all classes wrestled with the question of how to prevent another Southampton. Some people thought it was only necessary only to reduce the imbalance between white and black in the east by some scheme of deportation – either of free blacks or of slaves. 
Governor John Floyd, on the other hand, who owned a dozen or more slaves himself, wrote in his diary in November: “Before I leave this Government I will have contrived to have a law passed gradually abolishing slavery in this State, or at all events to begin the work of prohibiting slavery on the west side of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Before the legislature met he drew up a plan for the gradual elimination of slavery through the purchase and the removal of free blacks. The legislature received a number of petitions from citizens asking for the end of slavery, some because of the fear of another insurrection, others taking the occasion to object to slavery in general.  One such petition from Nelson County in the piedmont region was signed by 332 names. Newspapers also seriously canvassed the possibility of emancipation. “A few months have wrought a great change in public sentiment” concerning slavery, commented one Virginian early in December, 1831.” 
(The Other South, Southern Dissenters in the Nineteenth Century, Carl N. Degler, Harper & Row, 1974, pp. 14-16)