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Sep 22, 2016 - Black Slaveowners, Slavery in Africa, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Nigeria a Source of Slaves

Nigeria a Source of Slaves

The country of Nigeria was named for the Niger River, which means “black,” and the ninth longest river in the world. For many years a great source of slaves — and though the trade had diminished by 1847, in that year more than 80,000 slaves were shipped out of Africa “to all destinations.” In 1859, in command of the USS Crusader off Cuba, (future Confederate naval officer) Lt. John Newland Maffitt, was capturing New Englander-captained slavers and liberating thier slaves.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Nigeria a Source of Slaves

Nigerian history along the coast, like that of Sierra Leone and the Gambia, begins with the Portuguese. A Portuguese ship reached the Bight of Benin in 1472. Traders of other countries, including the British in particular, then began to reach this wild, forlorn, fragrant coast—they sought “pepper, Elephant’s teeth, oyl of palm, cloth made of cotton wool very curiously woven, and cloth made of the barke of palme trees.”

Soon came traffic much more lucrative, that in human beings. Indeed slavery dominates Nigerian history for almost three hundred years, with all its bizarre and burning horrors. We have already touched on slavery in East Africa; on the West Coast its history was different.

First: the origin of the Atlantic trade was the discovery of America and the consequent development of sugar plantations in the West Indies. When the American aborigines were killed off, as they were promptly, a labor force had to be found somewhere, and slaves from Africa were a marvelously cheap (as valued by African tribes) and convenient device to this end.

The trade brought fantastic profits. In the Cameroons in the early days the purchase of a slave from African tribes was “two measures of Spanish wine” and he could be sold for a thousand ducats, the profit being 5,000 percent. As late as 1786, a slave could be bought from African tribes in Nigeria for 2 pounds and sold in America for 65 pounds. In that period, 100,000 slaves or more were shipped across the Atlantic each year.

Second:  Aside from the British and Portuguese there were slave traders of several other nationalities, but Britain got a monopoly of the business by the Treaty of Utrecht in 1712.

Third:  Africans were as much involved in the overseas slave traffic as the Europeans since the latter did not dare as rule penetrate inland from the sea — the interior was too dangerous. Instead, they bought slaves from warlike African tribes — the Ashanti on the Gold Coast for instance — who seized and collected other Africans and marched them to the coast. As much barbarity accompanied these raids on Africans by Africans as accompanied the actual voyage across the ocean.

Fourth:  Africans also sought and captured slaves for themselves. In Northern Nigeria for example, slavery was almost universal until most recent times; slavery did not become illegal in Nigeria till 1901, and a few domestic slaves are still alive who have never been emancipated. A case can be made for slavery and the slave trade.  It is that tribal wars took place in the African interior without cessation, and that it was better for a man to be taken prisoner and made a domestic slave or even sold into slavery, than to be killed and perhaps eaten.

On a slave raid the object was to get the prisoner alive and with luck, he might survive the trip to America or Arabia. On balance, the slave trade (despite its inferno-like horrors) may have saved more lives than it cost. In any case it is the origin of a great many healthy, useful and progressive Negro communities in the Western world.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Brothers, 1955, excerpts, pp. 752-756)

Sep 22, 2016 - Black Slaveowners, Slavery in Africa, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Persistent African Slavery

Persistent African Slavery

The author below asserts that the commercial slave trade across the Red Sea ceased due to the efforts of Emperor Haile Selassie, and the steady depopulation of the remote region adjacent to the Sudan. “Slavery diminished for the simple reason that there were no more slaves to find.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Persistent African Slavery

“The name “Ethiopia” comes from the Greek, and means “burned face.” Most citizens dislike the older, more conventional name for their country – “Abyssinia” – because this has an Arab origin and connotes “mixed.” [The high altitude] . . . helps to keep disease down, because the sunshine is so sharp. Recently, an officer of the World Health Organization said of it, “A filthy country – but most sanitary.”

Coffee is the most important crop; our word “coffee” comes, in fact, from the Ethiopian place name “Kaffa.” Parts of Ethiopia are still semi-savage; it is one of the few countries in Africa where, in some areas, it is distinctly unsafe for a person to go about alone. (There are some similar areas, of course, in New York City).

Some Ethiopian women – until quite recently – wore their hair plaited with the bowels of oxen, and among the Gallas [tribe] dead children may be hung on trees instead of being buried.

Whether or not slavery still exists substantially [in Africa] is a moot point. Of course there are slaves – it is impossible to draw the line in many parts of Africa between slaves, family retainers, or servants who just don’t get paid. Abyssinia was for generations (along with the southern Sudan and northern Uganda) the chief source of slaves shipped to Arabia and the Yemen.

When Ethiopia entered the League of Nations in 1923, Haile Selassie pledged himself to wipe out slavery, and did his best to do so. Yet the Italians say that, when they took the country [in 1936], they released no fewer than 420,000 slaves.”

(Inside Africa, John Gunther, Harper & Brothers, 1955, excerpts, pp. 261-262)

Aug 20, 2016 - Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on French and British Slave Profits

French and British Slave Profits

The existence of African slaves in the western hemisphere was the result of British and French colonial economic policy [as well as Spanish and Portuguese] and the promise of immense profits, with the two countries engaging in heated competition to outperform the other. Rather than promote emancipation for the Negro out of humanitarian concern, the British used it to injure France after the loss of the American colonies. John C. Calhoun wrote United States Ambassador to France, William R. King on August 20, 1844:  “It is too late in the day to contend that humanity or philanthropy is the great object of the policy of England in attempting to abolish slavery on this continent.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

French and British Slave Profits

“In 1664, the French government, in accordance with the custom of those days, handed over the rights of trade with San Domingo. Agents received from the company the exclusive grant of the African trade, in return for supplying San Domingo with 2,000 Negroes every year. But by 1720 the colonists were needing 8,000 slaves a year . . .

The slave-trade and slavery were the economic basis of the French Revolution.  “Sad irony of human history,” comments Jaures. “The fortunes created at Bordeaux, at Nantes, by the slave-trade, gave to the bourgeoisie that pride which needed liberty and contributed to human emancipation.”

Nantes was the centre of the slave-trade. As early as 1666, 108 ships went to the coast of Guinea and took on board 37,430 slaves, to a total value of more than 37 millions, giving the Nantes bourgeoisie 15 to 20 percent on their money. In 1700 Nantes was sending 50 ships a year to the West Indies with Irish salt beef, linen for the household and for clothing the slaves, and machinery for sugar-mills.

Nearly all the industries which developed in France during the eighteenth century had their origin in goods or commodities destined either for the coast of Guinea or for America. The capital of the slave-trade fertilized them.

The British bourgeoisie, most successful of slave-traders, sold thousands of smuggled slaves every year to the French colonists and particularly to San Domingo. But even while they sold the slaves to San Domingo, the British were watching the progress of this colony with alarm and with envy.

After the independence of America in 1783, this amazing French colony suddenly made such a leap as almost to double its production between 1783 and 1789.  The British bourgeoisie investigated the new situation in the West Indies, and on the basis of what it saw, prepared a bombshell for its rivals. Without slaves San Domingo was doomed.

The British colonies had enough slaves for all the trade they were ever likely to do. With the tears running down their cheeks for the poor suffering blacks, those British bourgeoisie who had no West Indian interests set up a great howl for the abolition of the slave-trade.

A venal race of scholars, profiteering panderers to national vanity, have conspired to obscure the truth about [British] abolition. In 1773 and again in 1774, the Jamaica Assembly, afraid of insurrection and seeking to raise revenue, taxed the importation of slaves. In great wrath the British Board of Trade disallowed the measures and told the Governor that he would be sacked if he gave his sanction to any similar Bill.

But the [British] West Indian vested interests were strong, statesmen do not act merely upon speculation, and [the idea of abolition] would not have accounted for any sudden change in British policy. It was the miraculous growth of San Domingo that was decisive.

[British Prime Minister] William Pitt found that some 50 percent of the slaves imported into the British islands were sold to the French colonies. It was the British slave-trade, therefore, which was increasing French colonial produce and putting the European market into French hands. Britain was cutting its own throat. The French, seeking to provide their own slaves, were encroaching in Africa and increasing their share of the trade every year. Why should they continue to buy from Britain?

Pitt was in a hurry — it was important to bring the [slave] trade to a complete stop quickly and suddenly. The French had neither the capital nor the organization to make good the deficiency at once and he would ruin San Domingo at a stroke.

In 1787 he warned [the British abolitionist] Wilberforce that if he did not bring the motion (to Parliament) in, somebody else would . . . Pitt was fairly certain of success in England. With truly British nerve he tried to persuade the European governments to abolish the [slave] trade on the score of inhumanity.

[A] great stroke of luck befell Pitt. France was then stirring with pre-revolutionary attacks on all obvious abuses, and one year after the Abolitionist Society had been formed in Britain, a group of Liberals in France . . . followed the British example and formed a society, The Friends of the Negro.

This suited the British down to the ground. Clarkson went to Paris to stimulate the “slumbering energies” of the society, gave it money, [and] supplied France with anti-slavery propaganda . . . the powerful British government [was] determined to wreck French commerce in the Antilles, agitating at home and intriguing in France among men who, unbeknown to themselves, would soon have power in their hands.

How could anyone seriously fear for such a wonderful colony? Slavery seemed eternal and the profits mounted. The enormous increase of slaves was filling the colony with native Africans, more resentful, more intractable, more ready for rebellion than the creole Negro. This was the San Domingo of 1789, the most profitable colony the world had ever known . . .”

(The Black Jacobins, Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, C.L.R. James, Vintage Books, 1963, excerpts, pp. 46-57)

Jul 31, 2016 - Antebellum Realities, Historical Accuracy, New England History, New England's Slave Trade, Slavery Worldwide    Comments Off on Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

Nearly forgotten is the African slave trade conducted by African tribes who captured and sold their own people into slavery, and also that British power protected an African slave trade they publicly denounced. Like New England traders who had made fortunes trading Yankee notions and rum for slaves, Arab traders made fortunes in the ivory, clove and slave trade.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Arab Slavers of Zanzibar

“During the eighteenth century, Kilwa had become East Africa’s principal port for the export of slaves, drawn initially from southeastern Tanganyika and then increasingly from the region of Lake Nyasa. The Omanis on the coast were based at Zanzibar and, after taking control of Kilwa in the mod-1870s, diverted to that island the bulk of the trade in slaves and ivory.

By 1834, exports of slaves drawn from the mainland had reached and annual figure of 6,500. By the 1840s, the annual numbers had risen to between thirteen thousand and fifteen thousand. Some of these slaves were destined for markets in the Middle East. Most, however, were designated for Zanzibar, where the labor-intensive cultivation of cloves had begun soon after 1810 and was expanding rapidly in response to the growing world demand for cloves.

By the 1850s, the island’s population might have included no fewer than sixty thousand slaves.

The ruler of Oman, Sayyid Said ibn Sultan, transferred his court to Zanzibar in 1840. The island had become, as a result of his policies, the most rewarding part of his realm: the paramount port on the western side of the Indian Ocean, the source of virtually the entire world supply of cloves as well as the main sales outlet for ivory, and the largest slave markets.

Bagamoyo, in particular, flourished. Its rich agricultural hinterland, its open beaches suitable for the arrival of dhows, and its proximity to Zanzibar made it the predominant mainland outlet for the slave trade. Most of these [slave caravans to the coast] ventures were financed by local Asians from India, a majority of them Muslims, who had settled in the coastal town but mainly in Zanzibar and who provided trade goods on credit at high rates of return.

Those conducting the trade included Arabs; it was to the so-called norther Arabs, or Omanis, that the more ferocious aspects of slaving in the region came to be ascribed. In fact, perhaps most of the leading slavers were Afro-Arabs, or the progeny of inter-ethnic unions, and the trade itself became increasingly Zanzibari rather than an Omani one. Certainly, many of the main slavers, along with many of the regional slave dealers, were as black as their victims.

In the last resort, Said relied on British power to protect him against Arab contenders for his rich realm, (indeed, it was British power which had forced the retreat of Egyptian armies in 1839) and the threat that other European imperial powers, principally the French, might seek to devour it. He was not inclined, however, to surrender the enormous tax revenues accruing to him from the slave trade. The British government too, despite its commitment against the [slave] trade, was reluctant to antagonize an ally or so imperil that ally’s position that it found itself having to deal with someone worse.”

(Islam’s Black Slaves, the Other Black Diaspora, Ronald Segal, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001, pp. 146-147)

 

Canadian Jim Crow

The popular legend of an underground creates the impression that escaped slaves found freedom and social equality in Canada, and standard historical accounts lead Canadians to believe that passage of Simcoe’s Bill in 1793 ended slavery there, but slavery actually remained legal in British North America until 1833. Author Robin Winks of Yale University wrote: “Canadians did give refuge to thousands of fugitives, and the mythology of the underground railway, the North Star, and the lion’s paw naturally fed the later Canadian assumption that Negroes fared better in Canada than elsewhere.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com

 

Canadian Jim Crow

“Canadian law drew no distinction between black and white in matters of citizenship, of which education was one. In practice, however, there were not infrequently some distinctions likely to be drawn, the whites preferring that Negroes should have schools of their own. When Benjamin Drew visited [Amherstburg, Ontario] in 1854 he found the Negro separate school having neither blackboard nor chairs. The whole interior was comfortless and repulsive. The teacher was a colored woman, apparently doing the best she could under the discouragement of poor surroundings and frequent absences of her pupils.

The coming of so many people of another race and color into southwestern Ontario was not pleasing to all the white inhabitants. Deep prejudice manifested itself at times and an occasional outburst in some newspaper reflected the feelings of an element of the population. The Amherstburg Courier of October 27, 1849, prints a resolution of the district council passed on October 8 of that year, protesting vigorously against the proposed Elgin settlement which was planned by Reverend William King as a home for fugitives from slavery.

This resolution, which appears to have been instigated by a local politician, Larwill, resident in Chatham, declared that “there is but one feeling, and that is of disgust and hatred, that they (the Negroes) should be allowed to settle in any township where there is a white settlement.”

The resolution proceeded to ask for a disallowance of sale of lands to Negroes, suggested a poll tax on Negroes entering the country, asked for an enactment against amalgamation and a requirement that Negroes shall furnish good security that they will not become a burden. It was also suggested that it would be well to ascertain whether it would be impolitic to allow them the suffrage.

Dr. Samuel G. Howe, who visited [Amherstburg] in 1863 to investigate conditions….[was told by a Mr. Park of the town] that the Negroes were part of them indolent and part industrious. They tended to neglect their own poor and begged more than the whites. A Captain Averill who was interviewed said that the Negroes were satisfactory as sailors, “the very best men we have,” but they were never made mates and none owned ships of their own.”

(Amherstburg, Terminus of the Underground Railroad, Fred Landon, The Journal of Negro History, Vol. X., No. 1, January 1925, pp. 5-8)

 

Sep 24, 2015 - Slavery Worldwide    No Comments

Africa and Slavery

The Europeans arriving on the African coast found already enslaved black people marketed for sale, a trade which had been a staple of the Dark Continent’s economy for hundreds of years. Though traditionally slave owners themselves, the Tuareg tribe of Timbuktu were defeated in battle and those not killed and beheaded became slaves themselves. Ironically today’s Volkswagen SUV is named for this tribe of slave holders.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Africa and Slavery

“The West Indies were among Great Britain’s first colonial possessions, and for two centuries they had been the most prosperous, though that was changing as the slave and sugar economies shrank . . . [But] Africa was a rougher place.

In Sierra Leone, as in all the other European settlements along the western coast [of Africa], the activities of the expatriate whites – whether traders, officials or army officers – were restricted to villages easily accessible from the ocean, if not to the narrow confines of the trading beaches where they could escape to their ships or forts at night to avoid the pestilential diseases that were thought to come with the setting sun.

This isolation by the sea was only partly due to health concerns and the difficulty of travel through the rain forests. It was also the result of the slave trade, the middlemen of which had seen to it that their European customers were denied access to the hinterlands, the source of their own supply of new slaves. Though officially abolished, the “traffick” continued.

[As the Europeans learned], the indigenous peoples of West Africa were loath to let white men know too much about the geography and riches of their interior lands for all sorts of commercial and political reasons. Arab [slave] traders too, had a vested commercial interest in keeping the Europeans out. They helped sow distrust by relating stories of the British colonization of India, tales not lost on local African kings.

By 1821, fifteen years after the abolition of the slave trade in British colonies, it had become clear in London that there was much to be gained commercially, and also sometimes politically, by creating links with some of the powerful tribes of the interior instead of conducting all [slaving] business through intermediaries on the coast.

Tripoli had been the gateway to the African interior since per-Christian Garamantes tribesmen sold precious stones to the Carthaginians. Whoever rules Tripoli tried to keep the caravan routs open . . . [and] in the sixteenth century, Tripoli was invaded by the Turks. They governed, backed by a garrison of Janissaries. A Janissary was a soldier in an elite corps of Turkish troops drawn exclusively from abducted Christian boys trained to fight and brought up as Muslims.

The Janissaries in Tripoli intermarried with Arab and Berber women, and their sons were called Cologhis. The Cologhis, inevitably, grew more powerful until a fateful day in 1711 when one of them, Ahmad Karamanli, invited the officers of the Turkish garrison to a sumptuous banquet – and promptly slaughtered all of them as they ate. [Karamanli, calling himself “the bashaw”] founded a Tripolitanian dynasty that would rule for the next 125 years.

One [European] explorer, watching [Karamanli’s] army returning after a campaign [to the African interior] counted two thousand human heads on the tips of Cologhi spears. These grisly trophies belonged to rebellious Tuareg [tribesmen] whose decapitated bodies were burned in the desert.

In 1819, a combined Anglo-French squadron appeared off the shores of Tripoli . . . [to end attacks on Mediterranean shipping] . . . a huge financial blow to the bashaw. With a large part of his revenues cut, the bashaw had to turn elsewhere for money.

One source of income he thought he could exploit the sale of black slaves. With this in mind he started to organize slave caravans to strike deeper into Central Africa than Arabs had before.”

(The Race for Timbuktu, In Search of Africa’s City of Gold, Frank T. Kryza, Harper Collins, 2006, pp. 53-55; 67-70)

 

Serfs, Slaves and Irishmen

The emancipation of Russian serfs in 1861 followed the unrest fomented by the 1848 socialist revolutions in Europe, but it should not be too closely compared to Lincoln’s act in 1863. Then, the impetus was purely military and followed the pervious examples set by the British in 1775 and 1814 which promised freedom for those who rose up against their owners and contributed to British victory. Contrary to Lincoln’s writ of fire and sword, the Russian act of emancipation was peaceful and serfs were not enfranchised to rule over the Russian nobility.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Serfs, Slaves and Irishmen

“The rationale of serfdom, that is, the tying of the peasant to the land he tilled, was that it ensured labor (and hence income) to the landowning noble, enabling the latter to devote himself to serving the state. The enserfment of the peasants had been gradual, but by the middle of the seventeenth century the peasant and his descendants were legally obliged to remain on the land of their master. When the state granted land to new or old nobles for services rendered, the peasants on that land were transferred from state peasants into serfs.

[When Tsar Peter III released the nobility from state service] the peasants [expected reforms and] became resentful. Hitherto, peasant revolts had been localized though frequent, but in the reign of Catherine the Great the intensified discontent expressed itself in Pugachov’s rebellion, which lasted two years and threw official Russia and the nobility into a panic.

Serfs cultivated the land allotted to them, and in recompense for the use of this land they were required to work also on the land reserved for the use of the landowner. Three days a week was probably the average requirement but in the worst cases, and in busy weeks, this might be doubled . . .

The landowner could increase his serfs dues and duties, he could seize their property, he could forbid them from buying from, selling to, or working with persons outside the estate, he could make them into domestic servants, sell them either separately or with their families, force them to marry so as to breed more serfs, or forbid them to marry disapproved partners. Except in case of murder or banditry, the landowner administered rural justice and could send troublesome serfs to Siberia or into the army. Whipping was commonplace.

Although there were many landowners who were kindly, educating and sometimes liberating favoured serfs, there were others who were brutal; social isolation and almost absolute power led some landowners to excesses which in other circumstances they would have found revolting.

Englishmen travelling through Russia often compared Russian peasant life, not always unfavourably, with the condition of the Irish. Bu many foreigners were shocked by the condition of the poorer peasants.

An American wrote that the village poor “generally wanting the comforts which are supplied to the Negro on our best-ordered plantations, appeared to me not less degraded in intellect, character and personal bearing. Indeed, the marks of physical and personal degradation were so strong, that I was irresistibly compelled to abandon certain theories not uncommon among my countrymen at home, in regard to the intrinsic superiority of the white race over the others.”

(Endurance and Endeavor, Russian History 1812-1986, J.N. Westwood, Oxford University Press, 1987, pp. 74-76)

England's Slave Trade Guilt

The English colonial system and a need for large labor forces to cultivate land and generate products for the benefit of the British Empire was behind the importation of slaves to North America, and fueling the transatlantic slave trade were the Muslim kings of Africa’s Gulf of Guinea who readily sold their subjects to European traders.  Slavery in Africa was a widespread institution and existed in the Sudan, Senegambia, Upper Gambia and along the Niger River. The New England abolitionists could have adopted Wilberforce’s peaceful campaign to eradicate slavery, and repaid humanity for the sins of their own slave trading fathers.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

England’s Slave Trade Guilt

(Speech in the House of Commons by William Wilberforce, 12 May, 1789)

“When we consider the vastness of the continent of Africa; when we reflect how all other countries have some centuries past been advancing in happiness and civilization; when we think how in this same period all improvement in Africa has been defeated in her intercourse with Britain;

[W]hen we reflect that it is we ourselves that have degraded them to that wretched brutishness and barbarity which we now plead as the justification of our guilt; how the slave trade has enslaved their minds, blackened their character . . . What a mortification must we feel at having so long neglected to think of our guilt, or attempt any reparation!

It seems, indeed, as if we had determined to forbear from all interference [with slavery] until the measure of our folly and wickedness was so full and complete; until the impolicy which eventually belongs to vice was become so plain and glaring that not an individual in the country should refuse to join in the abolition; it seems as if we had waited until the persons most interested should be tired out with the folly and nefariousness of the trade, and should unite in petitioning against it.

Let us then make such amends as we can for the mischiefs we have done to the unhappy continent; let us recollect what Europe itself was no longer ago than three or four centuries.

What if I should be able to show this House [of Commons] that in a civilized part of Europe, in the time of Henry VII, there were people who actually sold their own children?  What if I should tell them that England itself was that country?  What if I should point out to them that the very place where this inhuman traffic was carried on was the city of Bristol?

Ireland at that time used to drive a considerable trade in slaves with these neighboring barbarians; but the great plague having infested the country, the Irish were struck with a panic, suspected (I am sure very properly) that the plague was a punishment sent from heaven for the sin of the slave trade, and therefore abolished it.

All I ask, therefore, of the people of Bristol is, that they would become as civilized now as Irishmen were four hundred years ago.  Let us put an end at once to this inhuman traffic – let us stop this effusion of human blood.”

(The World’s Famous Orations, William Jennings Bryan, editor, Funk and Wagnalls, 1906, pp. 66-68)

England's Half Naked Barbarians

The British colonial system populated North America and the West Indies with African slaves purchased from African kings and tribes; after American independence and the loss of that former colony’s profits, England professed slavery inhumane while emancipating its remaining slaves with compensations to the owners – quite possibly to undermine its French and American commercial competitors.

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

England’s Half-Naked Barbarians

“To be sure, the condition of depopulated Ireland is still pitiful to behold. Says a writer on Ireland: “An Irishman has nothing national about him except his rags.” Or another: “Let an Englishman exchange his bread and beer, and beef and mutton, for no breakfast, for a lukewarm lumper at dinner and no supper. With such a diet, how much better is he than an Irishman? – a Celt, as he calls him. No, the truth is, that the misery of Ireland is not from the human nature that grows there – it is from England’s perverse legislation, past and present.” But England is philanthropic, and the Irish are not Negroes, nor are they Slaves!

Or let us turn our eyes away from Ireland across the ocean, toward that happy land of emancipation. Says a recent writer: A short term and cupidity strain the lash over the poor Coolie, and he dies; is secreted if he lives, and advantage taken of his ignorance for extended time when once merged with plantation-service, where investigation can be avoided.” But again, the Coolies are no Slaves; they are but hired servants, and England’s philanthropy is safe!

We are not through with the Testimony of England, who is always loudest in condemning our Slavery. How closely she watches those poor Hindoos! How effectually she keeps them down, whenever they express any dissatisfaction with the happiness she forces upon them! She has instituted among those “half-naked barbarians” an awful solidarite’, by which the province is responsible for the labor of all its men and women. But still, England is philanthropic!

She has carried rails and Bibles, free-schools and steamboats, telegraphs and libraries to India, all for the benefit of those half-naked barbarians. And should telegraphs and Bibles not have the requisite effect of happifying, opium will be administered to them, and to “all the world, and to the rest of mankind” Now this is decided progress! England is the civilizer and Christianizer of the world!”

(The American Question, An Incidental Reply to Mr. H.H. Helper’s Compendium on the Impending Crisis of the South, Elias Peissner, 1861, H.H. Lloyd & Company, pp. 63-65)

Canadian Slave Transaction

The erroneous belief in today’s popular culture that the American South was the only region in North America tainted by African slavery is contradicted by Carter Woodson’s writings. He states “[In] my article on “The Slave in Canada,” printed in The Journal of Negro History for July, 1920, (Vol. V, No. 3), several instances of Negro slavery in Canada were given. The latest is mentioned in Le Bulletin des Recherches Historiques for October, 1927, (Vol. XXXIII, No. 10), at p. 584. I translate it from the French the article referred to.”

Bernhard Thuersam, www.circa1865.org

 

Canadian Slave Transaction

“Honorable William Renwick Riddell, Justice of Appeal, Ontario.

In July, 1748, Jean-Pierre Roma, Commandant for the (French) King at the island of St. Jean (now Prince Edward Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence), on his passage to Quebec, made a singular gift to his friend, Fleury de la Gorgendiere, (the younger). He gave him a mulatto girl, five months old and named Marie.

The gift made to Mr. Fleury de la Gorgendiere is explained by the fact that the mother of the child, the slave of Roma, died in giving it birth. Roma not being able to charge himself with raising the orphan, preferred to give it to M. Fleury de la Gorgendiere.

The deed of gift was drawn up by the Notary, Jean-Claude Panet, July 15, 1748; and in it is the stipulation that in case of the death of Fleury and his wife, the mulatto will return Mdll. Roma (her grandmother). If she cannot take her it is stipulated that she will receive her freedom.

Such sales of the creatures of God may seem curious – they were, however, according to the customs of the time and were made almost in every country.”

(Journal of Negro History, Carter G. Woodson, editor, Vol. XIII, No. 2, April, 1928, page 207)

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