Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

Page
Runaways,

62, 71
Sectional dislike,

121
Slave Trade, beginning of,
Slave Ship, description of,

12
Slave Trade, cruelties of,

17
Slave Trade defended in House
of Commons,

19
Slave Trade sanctioned by con:

stitution of the United States
for twenty years,

36
Siare cut in pieces,

26
Slave Codes, different degrees of
mildnes3,

39
Slavery, hereditary and perpetual, 42
Slaves cannot own property,

46, 71
Slaves considered as chattels, 45
Slaves in Africa,

48
Slaves never allowed to resist, 52
Slaves in U S. cannot redeem
themselves,

53

Page
Slaves unprotected in domestic
relations,

54
Slave Representation,

105
Slavery veiled in the Constitution, 106
Son, who murdered his father to
obtain freedom,

23
Southerners do not desire the abo-
lition of Slavery,

100
Southerner, conversation with, 139
Spanish Slaves,

7, 48, 54, 56
St. Domingo,

86
Sutcliff's Travels,

81
Toussaint L'Ouverture,

166
Turkey,

56
Union,

119
Washington's Slaves,

96
Washington had doubts,

107
Wirt, William,

102
Wright, Gov. of Maryland, 106
Zhinga, .

154

1

AN APPEAL, &o.

CHAPTER I.

BRIEF HISTORY OF NEGRO SLAVERY. ITS INEVITABLE EFFECT

UPON ALL CONCERNED IN IT.

The lot is wretched, the condition sad,
Whether a pining discontent survive,
And thirst for change; or habit hath subdued
The soul depressed; dejected-even to love
Of her dull tasks and close captivity.

WORDSWORTH
My ear is pained,
My soul is sick with every day's report
Of wrong and outrage, with which this earth is filled.
There is no flesh in man's obdurate heart,
It does not feel for man.

CowPER.

WHILE the Portuguese were exploring Africa, in 1442, Prince Henry ordered Anthony Gonsalez to carry back certain Moorish prisoners, whom he had seized two years before near Cape Bajador: this order was obeyed, and Gonsalez received from the Moors, in exchange for the captives, ten negroes, and a quantity of gold dust. Un. luckily, this wicked speculation proved profitable, and other Portuguese were induced to embark in it.

In 1492, the West India islands were discovered by Co. lumbus. The Spaniards, dazzled with the acquisition of a new world and eager to come into possession of their wealth, compelled the natives of Hispaniola to dig in the mines. The native Indians died rapidly, in consequence of hard work and cruel treatment; and thus a new market was opened for the negro slaves captured by the Portuguese. They were accordingly introduced as early as 1503. Those who bought and those who sold were alike prepared to trample on the rights of their fellow-beings, by that most demoralizing of all influences, the accursed love of gold.

Cardinal Ximenes, while he administered the government, before the accession of Charles the Fifth, was petitioned to

allow a regular commerce in African negroes. But he rejected the proposal with promptitude and firmness, alike honorable to his head and heart. This earliest friend of the Africans, living in a comparatively unenlightened age, has peculiar claims upon our gratitude and reverence. In 1517, Charles the Fifth granted a patent for an annual supply of four thousand negroes to the Spanish islands. He proba. bly soon became aware of the horrible and ever-increasing evils, attendant upon this traffic; for twenty-five years after he emancipated every negro in his dominions. But when he resigned his crown and retired to a monastery, the colo. nists resumed their shameless tyranny.

Captain Hawkins, afterward Sir John Hawkins, was the first Englishman, who disgraced himself and his country by this abominable trade. Assisted by some rich people in London, he fitted out three ships, and sailed to the African coast, where he burned and plundered the towns, and car. ried off three hundred of the defenceless inhabitants to His. paniola.

Elizabeth afterwards authorized a similar adventure with one of her own vessels. “She expressed her concern lest any of the Africans should be carried off without their free consent; declaring that such a thing would be detestable, and call down the vengeance of Heaven upon the under

For this reason, it has been supposed that the queen was deceived—that she imagined the negroes were transported to the Spanish colonies as voluntary laborers. But history gives us slight reasons to judge Elizabeth so favorably. It was her system always to preserve an appearance of justice and virtue.

She was a shrewd, far-, sighted politician; and had in perfection the clear head and cold heart calculated to form that character. Whatever she might believe of the trade at its beginning, she was too deeply read in human nature, not to foresee the inevitable consequence of placing power in the hands of avarice.

A Roman priest persuaded Louis the Thirteenth to sanction slavery for the sake of converting the negroes to Christianity; and thus this bloody iniquity, disguised with gown, hood, and rosary, entered the fair dominions of France. To be violently wrested from his home, and condemned to toil without hope, by Christians, to whom he had done no wrong, was, methinks, a very odd beginning to the poor negro's course of religious instruction !

takers.”

When this evil had once begun, it, of course, gathered strength rapidly; for all the bad passions of human nature were eagerly enlisted in its cause. The British formed settlements in North America, and in the West Indies; and these were stocked with slaves. From 1680 to 1786, two million, one hundred and thirty thousand negroes were im. ported into the British colonies !

In almost all great evils there is some redeeming feature some good results, even where it is not intended : pride and vanity, utterly selfish and wrong in themselves, often throw money into the hands of the poor, and thus tend to excite industry and igenuity, while they produce comfort. But slavery is all evil—within and without-root and branch, -bud, blossom and fruit!

In order to show how dark it is in every aspect-how in. variably injurious both to nations and individuals,—I will select a few facts from the mass of evidence now before me.

In the first place, its effects upon Africa have been most diastrous. All along the coast, intercouse with Europeans has deprived the inhabitants of their primitive simplicity, without substituting in its place the order, refinement, and correctness of principle, attendant upon true civilization. The soil of Africa is rich in native productions, and hon. orable commerce might have been a blessing to her, to Eu. rope, and to America ; but instead of that, a trade has been substituted, which operates like a withering curse, upon all concerned in it.

There are green and sheltered valleys in Africa,-broad . and beautiful rivers,—and vegetation in its loveliest and most magnificent forms.—But no.comfortable houses, no thriving farms, no cultivated gardens ;—for it is not safe to possess permanent property, where each little state is surrounded by warlike neighbors, continually sending out their armed bands in search of slaves. The white man offers his most tempt. ing articles of merchandise to the negro, as a price for the flesh and blood of his enemy; and if we, with all our boasted knowledge and religion, are seduced by money to do such grievous wrong to those who have never offended us, what can we expect of men just emerging from the limited wants of savage life, too uncivilized to have formed any habits of steady industry, yet earnestly coveting the pro. ductions they know not how to earn! The inevitable consequence is, that war is made throughout that unhappy conti

nent, not only upon the slightest pretences, but often without any pretext at all. Villages are set on fire, and those who fly from the flames, rush upon the spears of the enemy Private kidnapping is likewise carried on to a great extent , for he who can catch a neighbor's child is sure to find a ready purchaser; and it sometimes happens that the captor and his living merchandise are both seized by the white slave-trader. Houses are broken open in the night, and defenceless women and children carried away into captivity. If boys, in the unsuspecting innocence of youth, come near the white man's ships, to sell vegetables or fruit, they are ruthlessly seized and carried to slavery in a distant land. Even the laws are perverted to this shameful purpose. If a chief wants European commodities, he accuses a parent of witchcraft; the victim is tried by the ordeal of poisoned water ;* and if he sicken at the draught, the king claims a right to punish him by selling his whole family. In African legislation, almost all crimes are punished with slavery; and thanks to the white man's rapacity, there is always a very powerful motive for finding the culprit guilty. He must be

very good king indeed, that judges his subjects impartially, when he is sure of making money by doing otherwise !

The king of Dahomy, and other despotic princes, do not scruple to seize their own people and sell them, without prov ocation, whenever they happen to want anything, which slave-ships can furnish. If a chief has conscience enough to object to such proceedings, he is excited by presents of gunpowder and brandy. One of these men, who could no! resist the persuasions of the slave-traders while he was in toxicated, was conscience-stricken when he recovered his senses, and bitterly reproached his Christian seducers. One negro king, debarred by his religion from the use of spirit uous liquors, and therefore less dangerously tempted thar others, abolished the slave-trade throughout his dominions, and exerted himself to encourage honest industry ; but hir. people must have been as sheep among wolves.

Relentless bigotry brings its aid to darken the horrors of the scene. The Mohammedans deem it right to subject the heathen tribes to perpetual bondage. The Moors and Arabs think Alla and the prophet have given them an undisputed

* Judicial trials by the ordeal of personal combat, in which the van quisliol were always pronounced guilty, occurred as late as the sixteenthcentury, both in France and England.

« PreviousContinue »