Lincoln, in his 1858 Peoria debate with Stephen A. Douglas stated “When Southern people tell us they are no more responsible for slavery than we [the North] are, I acknowledge the fact. When it is said that . . . it is very difficult to get rid of it, in any satisfactory way, I can understand and appreciate the saying. I surely do not blame them for not doing what I would not know how to do myself.”
In truth, New England and New York had far more to do with importing enslaved Africans and perpetuating their slavery, as they financed, shipped and profited immensely from the nefarious trade, as did England. No British and New England slave importations, no slaves in the South.
Monopolizing Slave Trade Profits
“In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, English and [New England] vessels brought many thousands of Negroes from Africa, and sold them as slaves in the British West Indies and in the British American colonies.
William Goodell, a distinguished Abolitionist writer, tells us that “In the importation of slaves for the Southern colonies the merchants of New England competed with those of New York and the South (which never had much shipping). They appear indeed to have outstripped them, and to have almost monopolized at one time the profits of this detestable trade. Boston, Salem and Newburyport in Massachusetts, and Newport and Bristol in Rhode Island, amassed, in the persons of a few of their citizens, vast sums of this rapidly acquired and ill-gotten wealth.”
The slaves coming to America went chiefly to the Southern colonies, because there only was slave labor profitable. The laws and conditions under which these Negroes were sold in the American colonies were precisely the same as in the West Indies, except that the whites in the islands, so far is known, never objected, whereas the records show that earnest protests came from Virginia and also from Georgia and North Carolina.
The King of England was interested in the profits of the iniquitous trade and all protests were in vain.”
(The Abolitionist Crusade and Its Consequences, Hilary A. Herbert, Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1912, excerpts pp. 37-38)