網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

THE RENAISSANCE OF SLAVERY.

[ocr errors]

ness, or adhered to them in times of masters; but when children who had peril or calamity, or who had simply grown up together-sprung, indeed, given the best years of their lives to from different castes, but still memthe enlargement of their wealth, had bers of the same household-familiar been effectual in reducing, by manu- from infancy, and to some extent mission, the aggregate number of playmates, came to hold the relation, slaves much faster than it was in respectively, of master and slave, it creased by the preponderance of was inevitable that kindly feelings births over deaths. The chances of should frequently be reciprocated bewar, of invasion, and still more of tween them, leading often to devotion insurrection and civil convulsion, had on the one hand and emancipation on operated from time to time still fur- the other. It was not without reather to reduce the number of slaves. son, therefore, that the founders of Even the licentious and immoral con our Republic and the framers of our nections between masters and their Constitution supposed they had probondwomen, so inseparable from the vided for the gradual but certain disexistence of Slavery, tended strongly appearance of Slavery, by limiting its toward a like result; since it was sel area on the one hand, and providing dom or never reputable, save in slave- for an early inhibition of the Slave

a master to send his own children to But the unexpected results of the the auction-block and consign them purchase of Louisiana and the invento eternal bondage among strangers.' | tion of the Cotton-Gin were such as Quite often, the slave-mother, as well to set at naught all these calculaas her child or children, owed her tions. The former opened to slaveemancipation to the affection, the re- holding settlement and culture a vast morse, or the shame, of her master domain of the richest soil on earth, in and paramour. So long as slaves a region peculiarly adapted to the were mainly foreigners and barbari- now rapidly and profitably expandans, often public enemies, of fierce, ing production of Cotton; for Whitstrange aspect and unintelligible ney's invention had rendered this staspeech, there would naturally be lit-ple far more remunerative to its protle sympathy betwixt them and their ducer than any rival which the South

LI

7"That the practice of buying and selling their great Lawgiver, "shall surely be put to servants, thus early begun amongst the pa- death."- Encyclopædia Britannica, vol. XX., p. triarchs, descended to their posterity, is known | 319. to every attentive reader of the Bible. It was expressly authorized by the Jewish law, in

The above passage seems scarcely just to the which were many directions how such servants Law given by Moses. The true object and were to be treated. They were to be bought purpose of that Law, so far as bondage is cononly of the heathen; for, if an Israelite grew

cerned, was rather a mitigation of the harsher poor and sold himself, either to discharge a debt

features of an existing institution than the or to procure the means of subsistence, he was to be treated, not as a slave, but as a hired ser

creation of a new one. Moses, "for the hardvant, and restored to freedom at the year of ness of your hearts,' says Jesus, allowed or Jubilee. Unlimited as the power thus given tolerated some things which 'from the beginning to the Hebrews over their bondservants of

were not so. How any one can quote the Law heathen extraction appears to have been, they

of Moses as a warrant for Slavery, yet not admit were strictly prohibited from acquiring such property by any other means than fair purchase. |

it as a justification of free-and-easy Divorce, is He that stealeth a man and selleth him,' said not apparent.

02

.

had ever, or has ever yet, attempted | afforded such constant and nearly to grow; while the nearly simultane- uniform employment for this descripous inventions of Hargreaves, Ark tion of labor. Throughout the greater wright, and others, whereby steam part of the South-West, plowing for was applied to the propulsion of the cotton-crop may be commenced machinery admirably adapted to the in January; to be followed directly fabrication of Cotton, secured the by planting; this by weeding; and cultivators against all reasonable ap- hardly has the cultivation of the crop prehension of a permanently glut- been completed when the picking of ted market. As the production was the more advanced bolls may be comdoubled, and even quadrupled, every menced; and this, with ginning, often few years, it would sometimes seem employs the whole force of the planthat the demand had been exceed tation nearly or quite up to the comed; and two or three great commer mencement of the Christmas holidays. cial convulsions gave warning that These being over, the preparation of even the capacity of the world's the fields for plowing is again comsteadily expanding markets could be menced; so that there is no season over-estimated and surpassed by the when the hands need stand idle; and, producers of Cotton and its various though long spring and summer rains, fabrics. But two years at most suf- impeding tillage while, impelling the ficed to clear off the surplus and en-growth of weeds and of grass, somelarge this steadily growing demand times induce weeks of necessary hurup to the full measure of the mo- ry and unusual effort, there is absomentarily checked production. The lutely no day of the year wherein five millions of bales, produced by the the experienced planter or competent United States in 1859–60, were sold overseer cannot find full employment as readily and quickly as the one for his hands in some detail of the million bales produced in 1830–31, cultivation of Cotton. and at considerably higher prices per The forest-covered and unhealthy, pound.

but facile and marvelously fertile, But the relatively frigid climate South-West hungered for slaves, as and superficially exhausted soil of we have seen evinced in the case Maryland, Virginia, and North Car- of Indiana Territory. Impoverished, olina—wherein the greater number but salubrious and corn-growing Maof slaves were originally held-were ryland, Virginia, etc., were ready to poorly, or not at all, adapted to the supply them. Enterprising, advenproduction of cotton, whereof slave turous whites, avaricious men from labor early claimed, and succeeded the North and from Europe, but still in substantially maintaining, a mo- more from the older Slave States, nopoly. No other out-door work hied to the South-West, in hot pur

8 James Hargreaves had invented the Spin- to cotton-spinning occurred in 1787, but it was ning-Jenny in 1764; this was supplanted by the many years in winning its way into general use. invention by Sir Richard Arkwright, in 1768, of a superior machine for spinning cotton thread. was achieved in 1786. Fulton's patents were James Watt patented his Steam Engine in 1769, and his improvement, whereby a rotary motion | means of adapting paddle-wheels to the axlo was produced, in 1782; and its first application / of the crank of Watt's engine.

THE NEGRO-TRADERS AS POLITICIANS.

suit of wealth by means of cotton- sipated, easy-going Virginians looked planting and subsidiary callings; and for extrication, at the last gasp, from each became a purchaser of slaves to their constantly recurring pecuniary the full extent of his means. To clear embarrassments; while, on the other more land and grow more cotton, hand, a majority of the South-Westwherewith to buy more negroes, was ern planters were eager to buy of him the general and absorbing aspiration at large prices, provided he would —the more negroes to be employed sell on one or two years' credit. He in clearing still more land and grow patronized hotels and railroads; he ing still more cotton. Under this often chartered vessels for the transdispensation, the price of slaves ne- portation of his human merchandise; cessarily and rapidly advanced, until he was necessarily shrewd, keen, and it was roughly computed that each intelligent, and frequently acquired, average field-hand was worth so many or at least wielded, so much wealth hundred dollars as cotton commanded and influence as to become almost cents per pound: That is, when cot- respectable. Quite usually, he was ton was worth ten cents per pound, an active politician, almost uniformly field-hands were worth a thousand of the most ultra Pro-Slavery type, dollars each; with cotton at twelve and naturally attached to the Democents, they were worth twelve hun- cratic party. Traveling extensively dred; and when it rose, as it some- and almost constantly, his informatimes did even in later days, to fifteen tion and volubility rendered him cents per pound for a fair article of mail and telegraph, newspaper and middling Orleans, a stout negro, from stump orator, to those comparatively seventeen to thirty years old, with no ignorant and secluded planters whom particular skill but that necessarily he visited twice or more per year, as acquired in the rude experience of buyer or seller, or collector of his farm labor anywhere, would often dues for slaves already sold; while bring fifteen hundred dollars on a his power as profitable customer on New Orleans auction-block. Hence the one hand, or lenient creditor on the business of negro-trading, or the the other, was by no means inconsidsystematic buying of slaves to sell erable. It was this power, in conagain, though never quite reputable, nection with that of the strongly and, down to the last thirty or forty sympathizing and closely affiliated years, very generally regarded with class of gamblers and blacklegs, by abhorrence—became a highly impor- which Van Buren’s renomination for tant and influential, as well as gain- | the Presidency was defeated in the ful, occupation. The negro-trader, Baltimore Convention of 1844, and often picking up bargains at execu- the Democratic party committed, tors' or assignees' sales in the older through the nomination of Polk and States, or when a sudden shift must its accessories, to the policy of anbe made to save a merchant, from nexing Texas, thus securing a fresh bankruptcy or a farm from the sher- and boundless expansion to Slavery. iff, controlled large sums of money, When that Annexation was suddenly, often in good part his own. He was and to most unexpectedly, achieved, the Providence to whom indolent, dis-at the close of John Tyler's adminis

tration, relays of horses, prëarranged the African Slave-Trade, coinciding in the absence of telegraphs, con with the rapid settlement of the veyed from the deeply interested ne- Louisiana purchase and the triumph gro-traders, who were watching the of the Cotton-Gin, wrought here an doings of Congress at the national entire transformation. When fieldmetropolis, to their confederates and hands brought from ten to fifteen agents in the slave-selling districts | hundred dollars, and young negroes of the neighboring States, the joy- were held at about ten dollars per ful tidings which insured an ad pound, the newly born infant, if wellvance of twelve to fifteen per cent. formed, healthy, and likely to live, in the market value of human flesh, was deemed an addition to his masand enabled the exclusive possessors ter's wealth of not less than one hunof the intelligence to make it the dred dollars, even in Virginia or basis of extensive and lucrative spec- Maryland. It had now become the ulations.

interest of the master to increase the Slave-breeding for gain, deliber- number of births in his slave-cabins; ately purposed and systematically and few evinced scruples as to the pursued, appears to be among the means whereby this result was atlatest devices and illustrations of tained. The chastity of female slaves human depravity. Neither Cowper, was never esteemed of much account, nor Wesley, nor Jonathan Edwards, even where they were white; and, nor Granville Sharp, nor Clarkson, now that it had become an impedinor any of the philanthropists or ment to the increase of their masters' divines who, in the last century, bore wealth, it was wholly disregarded. fearless and emphatic testimony to No slave-girl, however young, was the flagrant iniquity of slave-making, valued lower for having become a slave-holding, and slave-selling, seem mother, without waiting to be first to have had any clear conception of made a wife; nor were many masters it. For the infant slave of past ages likely to rebuke this as a fault, or was rather an incumbrance and a brand it as a shame. Women were burden than a valued addition to his publicly advertised by sellers as exmaster's stock. To raise him, how- traordinary breeders, and commanded ever roughly, must cost all he would a higher price on that account.' ultimately be worth. That it was Wives, sold into separation from cheaper to buy slaves than to rear their husbands, were imperatively them, was quite generally regarded as required to accept new partners, in self-evident. But the suppression of order that the fruitfulness of the

illustratong the and few

[ocr errors]

191

9 Mr. Edward Yates, a zealous and active friend of a married pair being sold together, but, without of the Union cause, in “A letter to the Women exception, so far as I was able to learn from the of England, on Slavery in the Southern States

negroes sold by the auctioneers, every grown-up

man left a wife and every grown-up woman a husof America,” founded on personal observation

band. * * * I saw Mr. Pulliam (of Richin 1855, gives revolting instances of the brutal

mond) sell, to different buyers, two daughters handling of delicate and beautiful women, appa away from their mother, who was also to be sold. rently white, by slave-dealers and their cus

This unfortunate woman was a quadroon; and tomers, in Southern sale-rooms. He adds:

I shall not soon forget the large tears that started

to her eyes as she saw her two children sold "At Richmond and New Orleans, I was pres away from her.” ent at slave-auctions, and did not see one instance | Testimony like this is abundant.

SLAVE-BREEDING-COLONIZATION.

plantation might not suffer. We hers must share her own bitter and need not dwell on this new phase of hopeless degradation. It was long ago Slavery, its revolting features, and observed that American Slavery, with still more revolting consequences. its habitual and life-long separations The simple and notorious fact that of husband from wife, of parent from clergymen, marrying slaves, were child, its exile of perhaps the larger accustomed to require of them fidel- | portion of its victims from the humity in their marital relation, until ble but cherished homes of their separated by death, or by inexorable childhood to the strange and repulnecessity, suffices of itself to stamp sive swamps and forests of the far the social condition thus photo South-West, is harsher and viler than graphed with the indignant reproba- any other system of bondage on tion of mankind. And when we add which the sun ever shone. And that slave-girls were not only daily when we add that it has been caresold on the auction-blocks of New fully computed that the State of VirOrleans, and constantly advertised in ginia, since the date of the purchase her journals, as very nearly white, of Louisiana, had received more well-educated, and possessed of the money for her own flesh and blood, rarest personal attractions, and that regularly sold and exported, than her they commanded double and treble soil and all that was upon it would prices on this account, we leave noth- have sold for on the day when she ing to be added to complete the out- seceded from the Union, we need lines of a system of legalized and adduce no more of the million facts priest-sanctioned iniquity, more gi- which unite to prove every wrong a gantic and infernal than heathenism blunder as well as a crime--that God and barbarism ever devised. For the has implanted in every evil the seeds Circassian beauty, whose charms of its overthrow and ultimate deseek and find a market at Constanti- struction. nople, is sent thither by her parents, and is herself a willing party to the The conflicting currents of Amerispeculation. She hopefully bids a can thought and action with regard last adieu to the home of her infancy, to Slavery—that which was cherished to find another in the harem of some by the Revolutionary patriots, and wealthy and powerful Turk, where gradually died with them, and that she will achieve the life of luxury by which the former was imperceptiand idleness she covets. But the bly supplanted—are strikingly exhib- . American-born woman, consigned by ited in the history and progress of the laws of her country and the fiat the movement for African Colonizaof her owner to the absolute posses- tion. Its originator was the Rev. sion of whomsoever bids most for Samuel Hopkins, D. D., who was her, neither consents to the transfer, settled as a clergyman at Newport, nor is at all consulted as to the per- R. I., in 1770, and found that thrivson to whom she is helplessly con- ing sea-port a focus of Slavery and signed. The Circassian knows that the Slave-Trade, upon both of which her children will be free and honored. he soon commenced an active and The American is keenly aware that determined war. The idea of coun.

« 上一頁繼續 »