Jul 20, 2019 - Uncategorized    Comments Off on Virginian’s Against New England’s Accursed Practice

Virginian’s Against New England’s Accursed Practice

New England’s nefarious trade in West Indies molasses and slaves brought on the Navigation Acts from the British Crown, as well as the Revolution itself. After Rhode Island had become the center of the transatlantic trade in Africans by 1750, the traffic should be known simply as “New England’s Slave Trade.”

To demonstrate the anti-slavery resolve of Virginia’s representatives at the first Continental Congress meeting, they stated:

“The abolition of slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies, where it was unhappily introduced, in their infant state. But, previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves we have, it is necessary to exclude all future importations of slaves.”

Virginians Against New England’s Accursed Practice

“Though Brazil, by statute, prohibited the African slave trade in 1831, yet the traffic continued and in this trade citizens of the United States as ship owners, or crew, were engaged despite Federal statutes against such a practice. Henry A. Wise of Virginia, Consul at Rio [de] Janeiro, made frequent and earnest reports to the State Department calling the attention of the authorities to these violations. Under the date of February 18, 1845, he writes to the Secretary of State at Washington:

“I beseech, I implore the President of the United States to take a decided stand on this subject. You have no conception of the bold effrontery and the flagrant outrages of the African slave trade, and of the shameless manner in which its worst crimes are licensed here, and every patriot in our land would blush for our country did he know and see, as I do, how our citizens sail and sell our flag to the uses and abuses of that accursed practice.”

In his message to Congress, under date of December 4th, 1849, President [Zachary] Taylor writes:

“Your attention is earnestly invited to an amendment of our existing laws relating to the African slave trade with a view to the eventual suppression of that barbarous traffic. It is not to be denied that this trade is still in part carried on by means of vessels built in the United States and owned or navigated by some of our citizens.”

The foregoing recitals will serve to illustrate the uncompromising attitude of hostility on the part of leading Virginians toward the African slave trade. They sought by Federal statutes and concerted action with foreign nations to drive t pernicious traffic from the seas. They denounced the trade as inhuman, because it stimulated men to reduce free men to slavery and then entailed upon slaves the horrors and dangers of the “middle passage.”

They resolutely opposed any addition to the slave population of America because [they were] profoundly convinced that every such importation was fraught with menace to the social, economic and moral well-being of the nation and rendered more difficult the emancipation of those who had already been brought to her shores.”

(Virginia’s Attitude Toward Slavery and Secession, Beverly Munford, L.H. Jenkins Publishing, 1909, excerpts pp. 38-40)

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