What is it that constitutes the vital force
of the institution of slavery in this country? Slavery being an unnatural
and unhealthful condition of society, being a most wasteful and impoverishing
mode of cultivating the soil, would speedily run itself out in a community,
and become so unprofitable as to fall into disuse, were it not kept alive
by some unnatural process.
What has that process been in America? Why has that healing course of nature
which cured this awful wound in all the Northern States stopped short on Mason
and Dixon's line? In Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, slave labour
long ago impoverished the soil almost beyond recovery, and became entirely
unprofitable. In all these States it is well known that the question of emancipation
has been urgently presented. It has been discussed in legislatures, and Southern
men have poured forth on the institution of slavery such anathemas as only
Southern men can pour forth. All that has ever been said of it at the North
has been said in fourfold thunders in these Southern discussions. The State
of Kentucky once came within one vote, in her legislature, of taking measures
for gradual emancipation. The State of Virginia has come almost equally near;
and Maryland has long been waiting at the door. There was a time when no one
doubted that all these States would soon be free States; and what is now the
reason that they are not? Why are these discussions now silenced, and why
does this noble determination now retrograde? The answer is in a word. It
is the extension of slave territory, the opening of a great Southern slave-market,
and the organisation of a great internal slave-trade, that has arrested the
progress of emancipation.
While these States were beginning to look upon the slave as one who might
possibly yet become a man, while they meditated giving to him and his wife
and children the inestimable blessings of liberty, this great Southern slave-mart
was opened. It began by the addition of Missouri as slave territory, and the
votes of two Northern men were those which decided this great question.
Then, by the assent and concurrence of Northern men, came in all
the immense acquisition of slave territory which now opens so boundless a
market to tempt the avarice and cupidity of the Northern slave-raising States.
This acquisition of territory has deferred perhaps for indefinite ages
the emancipation of a race. It has condemned to sorrow and heart-breaking
separation, to groans and wailings, hundreds of thousands of slave families;
it has built, through all the Southern States, slave warehouses, with all
their ghastly furnishings of gags, and thumb-screws, and cowhides; it has
organised unnumbered slave-coffles, clanking their chains and filing in mournful
march through this land of liberty.
This accession of slave territory hardened the heart of the master. It
changed what was before, in comparison, a kindly relation, into the most horrible
and inhuman of trades.
The planter whose slaves had grown up around him, and whom he had learned
to look upon almost as men and women, saw on every sable forehead now nothing
but its market value. This man was a thousand dollars, and this eight hundred.
The black baby in its mother's arms was a hundred-dollar bill, and nothing
more. All those nobler traits of mind and heart which should have made the
slave a brother, became only so many stamps on his merchandise. Is the slave
intelligent?--Good! that raises his price two hundred dollars. Is he
conscientious and faithful? Good! stamp it down in his certificate; it's worth
two hundred dollars more. Is he religious? Does that Holy Spirit of God, whose
name we mention with reverence and fear, make that despised form His temple?--Let
that also be put down in the estimate of his market value, and the gift of
the Holy Ghost shall be sold for money. Is he a minister of God?--Nevertheless,
he has his price in the market. From the church and from the communion-table
the Christian brother and sister are taken to make up the slave-coffle. And
woman, with her tenderness, her gentleness, her beauty--woman, to whom
mixed blood of the black and the white have given graces perilous for a slave--what
is her accursed lot in this dreadful commerce? The next few chapters will
disclose facts on this subject which ought to wring the heart of every Christian
mother, if, indeed, she be worthy of that holiest name.
But we will not deal in assertions merely. We have stated the thing to
be proved; let us show the facts which prove it.
The existence of this fearful traffic is known to many, the particulars
and dreadful extent of it realised but by few.
Let us enter a little more particularly on them. The slave-exporting
States are Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee,
and Missouri. These are slave-raising States, and the others are slave-consuming
States. We have shown, in the preceding chapters, the kind of advertisements
which are usual in those States; but as we wish to produce on the minds of
our readers something of the impression which has been produced on our own
mind by their multiplicity and abundance, we shall add a few more here. For
the State of VIRGINIA, see all the following:
Kanawha Republican, Oct. 20, 1852, Charleston,
Va. At the head--Liberty, with a banner, "Drapeau
CASH FOR NEGROES.
The subscriber wishes to purchase a few young NEGROES, from 12 to 25 years
of age, for which the highest market price will be paid in cash. A few lines
addressed to him through the Post Office, Kanawha C. H., or a personal application,
will be promptly attended to.
Oct. 20, '53.--3t. JAS. L. FICKLIN.
Alexandria Gazette, Oct. 28:
CASH FOR NEGROES.
I wish to purchase immediately, for the South, any number of NEGROES from
10 to 30 years of age, for which I will pay the very highest cash price. All
communications promptly attended to.
West End, Alexandria, Va., Oct. 26.--tf. JOSEPH BRUIN.
Lynchburg Virginian, Nov. 18:
The subscriber, having located in Lynchburg, is giving the highest cash
prices for negroes, between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Those having negroes
for sale may find it to their interest to call on him at the Washington Hotel,
Lynchburg, or address him by letter.
All communications will receive prompt attention.
J. B. MC LENDON.
Rockingham, Register, Nov. 13:
CASH FOR NEGROES.
I wish to purchase a number of NEGROES of both sexes and all ages, for
the Southern market, for which I will pay the highest cash prices. Letters
addressed to me at Winchester, Virginia, will be promptly attended to.
H. J. MC DANIEL, Agent for Wm.
Nov. 24, 1846.--tf.
Richmond Whig, Nov. 16:
PULLIAM AND DAVIS, AUCTIONEERS FOR THE SALE OF
D. M. PULLIAM. HECTOR DAVIS.
The subscribers continue to sell Negroes, at their office, on Wall-street.
>From their experience in the business they can safely insure the highest prices
for all negroes intrusted to their care. They will make sales of negroes in
estates, and would say to Commissioners, Executors, and Administrators, that
they will make their sales on favourable terms. They are prepared to board
and lodge negroes comfortably at 25 cents. per day.
NOTICE--CASH FOR SLAVES.
Those who wish to sell slaves in Buckingham and the adjacent counties in
Virginia, by application to ANDERSON D. ABRAHAM,
Sr., or his son, ANDERSON D. ABRAHAM, Jr., they
will find sale, at the highest cash prices, for one hundred and fifty to two
hundred slaves. One or the other of the above parties will be found, for the
next eight months, at their residence in the aforesaid county and State. Address
ANDERSON D. ABRAHAM, Sr., Maysville Post Office, White
Oak Grove, Buckingham County, Va.
Winchester Republican, June 29, 1852:
The subscriber, having located himself in Winchester, Va., wishes to purchase
a large number of SLAVES of both sexes, for which he will give the highest
price in cash. Persons wishing to dispose of Slaves will find it to their
advantage to give him a call before selling.
All communications addressed to him at the Taylor Hotel, Winchester, Va.,
will meet with prompt attention.
ELIJAH MC DOWEL, Agent for B. M.
and Wm. L. Campbell, Of Baltimore.
Dec. 27, 1851.--1y.
Port Tobacco Times, October, 1852:
The subscriber is permanently located at MIDDLEVILLE, Charles County
(immediately on the road from Port Tobacco to Allen's
Fresh), where he will be pleased to buy any SLAVES
that are for sale. The extreme value will be given at all times, and liberal
commissions paid for information leading to a purchase. Apply personally,
or by letter addressed to Allen's Fresh, Charles County.
JOHN G. CAMPBELL.
Middleville, April 14, 1852.
Cambridge (Md.) Democrat,
October 27., 1852:
I wish to inform the slaveholders of Dorchester and the adjacent counties
that I am again in the market. Persons having negroes that are slaves for
life to dispose of will find it to their interest to see me before they sell,
as I am determined to pay the highest price in cash that the Southern market
will justify. I can be found at A. HALL'S Hotel,
in Easton, where I will remain until the first day of July next. Communications
addressed to me at Easton, or information given to Wm. Bell, in Cambridge,
will meet with prompt attention.
I will be at John Bradshaw's Hotel, in Cambridge, every Monday.
Oct. 6, 1852.--3m. WM. HARKER.
The Westminster Carroltonian, October 22, 1852:
TWENTY-FIVE NEGROES WANTED.
The undersigned wishes to purchase 25 LIKELY YOUNG NEGROES, for which the
highest cash prices will be paid. All communications addressed to me in Baltimore
will be punctually attended to.
Jan. 2.--tf. LEWIS WINTERS.
For TENNESSEE the following:--
Nashville True Whig, October 20, '52:
21 likely Negroes, of different ages.
Oct. 6. A. A. MC LEAN,
I want to purchase, immediately, a Negro man, Carpenter, and will give
a good price.
Oct. 6. A. A. MC LEAN,
Nashville Gazette, October 22:
SEVERAL likely girls from 10 to 18 years old, a woman 24, a very valuable
woman 25 years old, with three very likely children.
Oct. 16, 1852. WILLIAMS & GLOVER, A. B. U.
I want to purchase Twenty-five LIKELY NEGROES, between the ages of 18 and
25 years, male and female, for which I will pay the highest price in CASH.
Oct. 20. A. A. MC LEAN,
The Memphis Daily Eagle and Enquirer:
FIVE HUNDRED NEGROES WANTED.
We will pay the highest cash price for all good negroes offered. We invite
all those having negroes for sale to call on us at our mart, opposite the
lower steam-boat landing. We will also have a large lot of Virginia negroes
for sale in the fall. We have as safe a jail as any in the country, where
we can keep negroes safe for those that wish them kept.
je 13--d & w. BOLTON, DICKINS &
LAND AND NEGROES FOR SALE.
A good bargain will be given in about 400 acres of Land; 200 acres are
in a fine state of cultivation, fronting the railroad about ten miles from
Memphis. Together with 18 or 20 likely negroes, consisting of men, women,
boys, and girls. Good time will be given on a portion of the purchase money.
Oct. 18.--1m. J. M. PROVINE.
Clarksville Chronicle, December 3, 1852:
We wish to hire 25 good steam-boat hands for the New Orleans and Louisville
trade. We will pay very full prices for the season, commencing about the 15th
MC CLURE & CROZIER, Agents.
S. B. Bellpoor.
Sept. 10, 1852.--1m.
The Daily St. Louis Times, October 14, 1852:
On Chesnut, between Sixth and Seventh streets, near the city jail, will
pay the highest price in cash for all good negroes offered. There are also
other buyers to be found in the office very anxious to purchase, who will
pay the highest prices given in cash.
Negroes boarded at the lowest rates.
BLAKELY and McAFEE having dissolved copartnership by mutual consent, the
subscriber will at all times pay the highest cash prices for negroes of every
description. Will also attend to the sale of negroes on commission, having
a jail and yard fitted up expressly for boarding them.
Negroes for sale at all times.
3 A. B. MC AFEE, 93 Olive-street.
ONE HUNDRED NEGROES WANTED.
Having just returned from Kentucky, I wish to purchase, as soon as possible,
one hundred likely negroes, consisting of men, women, boys and girls, for
which I will pay at all times from fifty to one hundred dollars on the head
more money than any other trading man in the city of St. Louis, or the State
of Missouri. I can at all times be found at Barnum's City Hotel, St. Louis,
je 12d&wly. JOHN MATTINGLY.
From another St. Louis paper:--
I will pay at all times the highest price in cash for all good negroes
offered. I am buying for the Memphis and Louisiana markets, and can afford
to pay, and will pay, as high as any trading man in this State. All those
having negroes to sell will do well to give me a call at No. 210, corner of
Sixth and Wash streets, St. Louis, Mo.
THOS. DICKINS, of the firm of Bolton,
Dickins, & Co.
ONE HUNDRED NEGROES WANTED.
Having just returned from Kentucky, I wish to purchase one hundred likely
negroes, consisting of men and women, boys and girls, for which I will pay
in cash from fifty to one hundred dollars more than any other trading man
in the city of St. Louis or the State of Missouri. I can at all times be found
at Barnum's City Hotel, St. Louis, Mo.
je 14d&wly. JOHN MATTINGLY.
B. M. LYNCH, No. 104, Locust St., St. Louis, Missouri,
Is prepared to pay the highest prices in cash for good and likely negroes,
or will furnish boarding for others, in comfortable quarters and under secure
fastenings. He will also attend to the sale and purchase of negroes on commission.
We ask you, Christian reader, we beg you to think, what sort of scenes
are going on in Virginia under these advertisements? You see that they are
carefully worded so as to take only the young people; and they are only a
specimen of the standing season advertisements, which are among the most common
things in the Virginia papers. A succeeding chapter will open to the reader
the interior of these slave-prisons, and show him something of the daily incidents
of this kind of trade. Now, let us look at the corresponding advertisements
in the Southern States. The coffles made up in Virginia and other States are
thus announced in the Southern market.
From the Natchez (Mississippi) Free Trader, November 20:--
NEGROES FOR SALE.
The undersigned have just arrived, direct from Richmond, Va., with a large
and likely lot of Negroes, consisting of Field Hands, House Servants, Seamstresses,
Cooks, Washers and Ironers, a first-rate brick mason, and other mechanics,
which they now offer for sale at the Forks of the Road, near Natchez (Miss.),
on the most accommodating terms.
They will continue to receive fresh supplies from Richmond, Va., during
the season, and will be able to furnish to any order any description of negroes
sold in Richmond.
Persons wishing to purchase would do well to give us a call before purchasing
Nov. 20--6m. MATTHEWS, BRANTON, & Co.
TO THE PUBLIC. NEGROES BOUGHT AND SOLD.
ROBERT S. ADAMS & MOSES J. WICKS have this
day associated themselves under the name and style of ADAMS & WICKS,
for the purpose of buying and selling Negroes, in
the city of Aberdeen, and elsewhere. They have an agent who has been purchasing
Negroes for them in the Old States for the last two months. One of the firm,
Robert S. Adams, leaves this day for North Carolina and Virginia, and will
buy a large number of negroes for this market. They will keep at their depot
in Aberdeen, during the coming fall and winter, a large lot of choice Negroes,
which they will sell low for cash, or for bills on Mobile.
ROBERT S. ADAMS, MOSES J. WICKS.
Aberdeen, Miss., May 7, 1852.
SLAVES! SLAVES! SLAVES!
FRESH ARRIVALS WEEKLY.--Having established
ourselves at the Forks of the Road, near Natchez, for a term of years, we
have now on hand, and intend to keep throughout the entire year, a large and
well selected stock of Negroes, consisting of field-hands, house-servants,
mechanics, cooks, seamstresses, washers, ironers, etc., which we can sell,
and will sell, as low or lower than any other house here or in New Orleans.
Persons wishing to purchase would do well to call on us before making purchases
elsewhere, as our regular arrivals will keep us supplied with a good and general
assortment. Our terms are liberal. Give us a call.
GRIFFIN & PULLUM.
Natchez, Oct. 16, 1852.--6m
NEGROES FOR SALE.
I have just returned to my stand, at the Forks of the Road, with fifty
likely young NEGROES for sale.
Sept. 22. R. H. ELAM.
The undersigned would respectfully state to the public that he has leased
the stand in the Forks of the Road, near Natchez, for a term of years, and
that he intends to keep a large lot of NEGROES on hand during the year. He
will sell as low or lower than any other trader at this place or in New Orleans.
He has just arrived from Virginia, with a very likely lot of field men
and women and house-servants, three cooks, a carpenter, and a fine buggy horse,
and a saddle-horse and carryall. Call and see.
THOS. G. JAMES.
Daily Orleanian, October 19, 1852:--
W. F. TANNEHILL. No. 159, GRAIER STREET. SLAVES! SLAVES! SLAVES!
Constantly on hand, bought and sold on commission, at most reasonable prices.--Field
hands, cooks, washers and ironers, and general house-servants. City references
given, if required.
DEPOT D'ESCLAVES. DE LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS.
No. 68, RUE BARONNE.
WM. F. TANNEHILL & Co. ont constamment en
mains un assortiment complet d'ESCLAVES bien choisis A VENDRE. Aussi,
vente et achat d'esclaves par commission.
Nous avons actuellement en mains un grand nombre de NEGRES à louer aux
mois, parmi lesquels se trouvent des jeunes
gargons, domestiques de maison, cuisinières, blanchisseuses et repasseuses,
Wright, Williams, & Co.
Williams, Phillips, & Co.
Moon, Titus, & Co.
S. O. Nelson & Co.
E. W. Diggs. 3ms.
New Orleans Daily Crescent, October 21, 1852:--
JAMES WHITE, No. 73, Baronne-street, New Orleans,
will give strict attention to receiving, boarding, and selling SLAVES consigned
to him. He will also buy and sell on commission. References: Messrs. Robson&
Allen, McRea, Coffman & Co., Pregram, Bryan & Co.
Fifteen or twenty good Negro Men wanted to go on a Plantation. The best
of wages will be given until the 1st of January, 1853.
THOMAS G. MACKEY & Co., 5,
Canal-street, corner of Magazine, up stairs.
From another number of the Mississippi Free Trader
is taken the following:--
The undersigned would respectfully state to the public that he has a lot
of about forty-five now on hand, having this day received a lot of twenty-five
direct from Virginia, two or three good cooks, a carriage driver, a good house
boy, a fiddler, a fine seamstress, and a likely lot of field men and women;
all of whom he will sell at a small profit. He wishes to close out and go
on to Virginia after a lot for the fall trade. Call and see.
THOMAS G. JAMES.
The slave-raising business of the Northern States has been variously alluded
to and recognised, both in the business statistics of the States, and occasionally
in the speeches of patriotic men, who have justly mourned over it as a degradation
to their country. In 1841 the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society addressed
to the executive committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society some inquiries
on the internal American slave-trade.
A laboured investigation was made at the time, the results of which were
published in London; and from that volume are made the following extracts:--
The Virginia Times (a weekly newspaper, published
at Wheeling, Virginia) estimates, in 1836, the number of slaves exported for
sale from that State alone, during "the twelve months preceding,"
at forty thousand, the aggregate value of whom is computed at twenty-four
millions of dollars.
Allowing for Virginia one-half of the whole exportation during the period
in question, and we have the appalling sum total of eighty thousand slaves
exported in a single year from the breeding States. We cannot decide with
certainty what proportion of the above number was furnished by each of the
breeding States, but Maryland ranks next to Virginia in point of numbers,
North Carolina follows Maryland, Kentucky North Carolina, then Tennessee and
The Natchez (Mississippi) Courier says, that "the
States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and
Arkansas imported two hundred and fifty thousand slaves from the more Northern
States in the year 1836."
This seems absolutely incredible, but it probably includes all the slaves
introduced by the immigration of their masters. The following, from the
Virginia Times, confirms this supposition. In the same
paragraph, which is referred to under the second query, it is said--
"We have heard intelligent men estimate the number of slaves exported
from Virginia within the last twelve months at a hundred and twenty thousand,
each slave averaging at least six hundred dollars, making an aggregate of
seventy-two million dollars. Of the number of slaves exported not more than
one-third have been sold, the others having been carried
by their masters, who have removed.
Assuming one-third to be the proportion of the sold, there are more than
eighty thousand imported for sale into the four States of Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, and Arkansas. Supposing one-half of eighty thousand to be sold into
the other buying States--South Carolina, Georgia, and the territory of
Florida--and we are brought to the conclusion that more
than a hundred and twenty thousand slaves were, for some years previous to
the great pecuniary pressure in 1837, exported from the breeding to the consuming
The Baltimore American gives the following from
a Mississippi paper of 1837:--
"The report made by the Committee of the citizens of Mobile, appointed
at their meeting held on the 1st instant, on the subject of the existing pecuniary
pressure, states, that so large has been the return of slave labour, that
purchases by Alabama of that species of property from other States, since
1833, have amounted to about ten million dollars annually."
"Dealing in slaves," says the Baltimore (Maryland) Register, of 1829, "has become
a large business; establishments are made in several places in Maryland and
Virginia, at which they are sold like cattle. These places of deposit are
strongly built, and well supplied with iron thumbscrews and gags, and ornamented
with cowskins and other whips, oftentimes bloody."
Professor Dew, now President of the University of William and Mary, in
Virginia, in his review of the debate in the Virginia Legislature, in 1831-32,
says (p. 120):--
"A full equivalent being left in the place of the slave (the purchase-money),
this emigration becomes an advantage to the State, and does not check the
black population as much as at first view we might imagine, because it furnishes
every inducement to the master to attend to the negroes, to encourage, breeding,
and to cause the greatest number possible to be raised." Again, "Virginia
is, in fact, a negro-raising State for the other States."
Mr. Goode, of Virginia, in his speech before the Virginia Legislature,
in January, 1832, said--
"The superior usefulness of the slaves in the South will constitute
an effectual demand, which will remove them from our limits. We shall send
them from our State, because it will be our interest to do so; but gentlemen
are alarmed lest the markets of other States be closed against the introduction
of our slaves. Sir, the demand for slave labour must increase," &c.
In the debates of the Virginia Convention, in 1829, Judge Upsher said--
"The value of slaves, as an article of property, depends much on
the state of the market abroad. In this view it is the value of the land abroad;
and not of land here, which furnishes the ratio. Nothing is more fluctuating
than the value of slaves. A late law of Louisiana reduced their value twenty-five
per cent, in two hours after its passage was known. If it should be our lot,
as I trust it will be, to acquire the country of Texas, their price will rise
Hon. Philip Doddridge, of Virginia, in his speech in the Virginia Convention,
in 1829 (Debates, p. 89), said--
"The acquisition of Texas will greatly enhance the value of the property
in question (Virginia slaves)."
Rev. Dr. Graham, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, at a colonisation meeting
held at that place in the fall of 1837, said--
"There were nearly seven thousand slaves offered in New Orleans market
last winter. From Virginia alone six thousand were annually sent to the South,
and from Virginia and North Carolina there had gone to the South, in the last
twenty years, THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND SLAVES."
Hon. Henry Clay, of Kentucky, in his speech before the Colonisation Society,
in 1829, says--
"It is believed that nowhere in the farming portion of the United
States would slave labour be generally employed if the proprietor were not
tempted to raise slaves by the high price of the Southern market, which keeps
it up in his own."
The New York Journal of Commerce, of October 12th,
1835, contains a letter from a Virginian, whom the editor calls "a very
good and sensible man;" asserting that twenty thousand slaves had been
driven to the South from Virginia that year, but little more than three-fourths
of which had then elapsed.
Mr. Gholson, of Virginia, in his speech in the legislature of that State,
January 18, 1831 (see Richmond Whig), says--
"It has always (perhaps erroneously) been considered, by steady and
old-fashioned people, that the owner of land had a reasonable right to its
annual profits; the owner of orchards to their annual fruits; the owner of
brood mares to their product, and the owner of female slaves to their increase.
We have not the fine-spun intelligence nor legal acumen to discover the technical
distinctions drawn by gentlemen (that is, the distinction between female slaves
and brood mares). The legal maxim of partus sequitur ventrem is coeval with
the existence of the right of property itself, and is
founded in wisdom and justice. It is on the justice and inviolability of this
maxim that the master foregoes the service of the female slave, has her nursed
and attended during the period of her gestation, and raises the helpless infant
offspring. The value of the property justifies the expense, and I do not hesitate
to say that in its increase consists much of our wealth."
Can any comment on the state of public sentiment produced by slavery equal
the simple reading of this extract, if we remember that it was spoken in the
Virginian legislature? One would think the cold cheek of Washington would
redden in its grave for shame, that his native State had sunk so low. That
there were Virginian hearts to feel this disgrace is evident from the following
reply of Mr. Faulkner to Mr. Gholson, in the Virginia House of Delegates,
1832. See Richmond Whig:--
"But he (Mr. Gholson) has laboured to show that the abolition of
slavery would be impolitic, because your slaves constitute the entire wealth
of the State, all the productive capacity Virginia possesses; and, sir, as
things are, I believe he is correct. He says that the slaves constitute the
entire available wealth of Eastern Virginia. Is it true that for two hundred
years the only increase in the wealth and resources of Virginia has been a
remnant of the natural increase of this miserable race? Can it be that on
this increase she places her sole dependence? Until I heard these declarations,
I had not fully conceived the horrible extent of this evil. These gentlemen
state the fact, which the history and present aspect of the commonwealth but
too well sustain. What, sir! have you lived for two hundred years without
personal effort or productive industry, in extravagance and indolence, sustained
alone by the return from the sales of the increase of slaves, and retaining
merely such a number as your now impoverished lands can sustain as STOCK?"
Mr. Thomas Jefferson Randolph, in the Virginian legislature, used the following
language ("Liberty Bell," p. 20):
"I agree with gentlemen in the necessity of arming the State for
internal defence. I will unite with them in any effort to restore confidence
to the public mind, and to conduce to the sense of the safety
of our wives and our children. Yet, Sir, I must ask upon whom is to fall the
burden of this defence? Not upon the lordly masters of their hundred slaves,
who will never turn out except to retire with their families when danger threatens.
No, sir; it is to fall upon the less wealthy class of our citizens, chiefly
upon the non-slaveholder. I have known patrols turned out where there was
not a slaveholder among them; and this is the practice of the country. I have
slept in times of alarm quiet in bed, without having a thought of care, while
these individuals, owning none of this property themselves, were patrolling
under a compulsory process, for a pittance of seventy-five cents per twelve
hours, the very curtilage of my house, and guarding that property which was
alike dangerous to them and myself. After all, this is but an expedient. As
this population becomes more numerous, it becomes less productive. Your guard
must be increased, until finally its profits will not pay for the expense
of its subjection. Slavery has the effect of lessening the free population
of a country.
"The gentleman has spoken of the increase of the female slaves being
a part of the profit. It is admitted; but no great evil can be averted, no
good attained, without some inconvenience. It may be questioned how far it
is desirable to foster and encourage this branch of profit. It is a practice,
and an increasing practice, in parts of Virginia, to rear slaves for market.
How can an honourable mind, a patriot, and a lover of his country, bear to
see this Ancient Dominion, rendered illustrious by the noble devotion and
patriotism of her sons in the cause of liberty, converted into one grand menagerie,
where men are to be reared for the market, like oxen for the shambles? Is
it better, is it not worse, than the slave-trade--that trade which enlisted
the labour of the good and wise of every creed, and every clime, to abolish
it? The trader receives the slave, a stranger in language, aspect, and manners,
from the merchant who has brought him from the interior. The ties of father,
mother, husband, and child, have all been rent in twain; before he receives
him, his soul has become callous. But here, sir, individuals whom the master
has known from infancy, whom he has seen sporting in the innocent gambols
of childhood who have been accustomed to look to him for protection, he tears
from the mother arms and sells into a strange country among strange people,
subject to cruel taskmasters.
"He has attempted to justify slavery here because it exists in Africa,
and has stated that it exists all over the world. Upon the same principle,
he could justify Mahometanism, with its plurality of wives, petty wars for
plunder, robbery, and murder, or any other of the abominations and enormities
of savage tribes. Does slavery exist in any part of civilised Europe?--No,
sir, in no part of it."
The calculations in the volume from which we have been quoting are made
in the year 1841. Since that time the area of the Southern slave-market has
been doubled, and the trade has undergone a proportional increase. Southern
papers are full of its advertisements. It is, in fact, the great trade of
the country. From the single port of Baltimore, in the last two years, a thousand
and thirty-three slaves have been shipped to the Southern market, as is apparent
from the following report of the custom-house officer:--
ABSTRACT of the NUMBER of
VESSELS cleared in the District of BALTIMORE
for Southern Ports, having Slaves on Board, from January 1, 1851, to November
||Denomina's.||Names of Vessels.
|| || |
||"||E. H. Chapin,
||H. A. Barling,||New Orleans,
|" 26 Sloop,
||3||" 28 #" #" #" #42|
||Edward Everett,||New Orleans,
||Georgia,||Norfolk, Va. #11
||Arquia Creek, Va.||4
||Eliza F. Mason,||Nor Orleans,
||Schooner,||H. A. Barling,
|| || ||
||Bark,||Abbott Lord,||New Orleans,
||Arquia Creek, Va.||4|
|Septmb. 14||"||North Carolina,
||H. M. Gambrill,||Savannah,||11
||Jane Henderson,||New Orleans,||18
If we look back to the advertisements we shall see that the traders take
only the younger ones, between the ages of ten and thirty. But this is only
one port, and only one mode of exporting; for multitudes of them are sent
in coffles over land; and yet Mr. J. Thornton Randolph represents the negroes
of Virginia as living in pastoral security, smoking their pipes under their
own vines and fig-trees, the venerable patriarch of the flock declaring that
"he nebber hab hear such a thing as a nigger sold to Georgia all his
life, unless dat nigger did something berry bad."
An affecting picture of the consequences of this traffic upon both master
and slave is drawn by the committee of the volume from which we have quoted.
The writer cannot conclude this chapter better than by the language which
they have used:--
This system bears with extreme severity upon the slave. It subjects him
to a perpetual fear of being sold to the "soul-driver," which
to the slave is the realisation of all conceivable woes and horrors, more
dreaded than death. An awful apprehension of this fate haunts the poor sufferer
by day and night, from his cradle to his grave. SUSPENSE hangs like a thunder-cloud
over his head. He knows that there is not
a passing hour, whether he wakes or sleeps, which may not be THE LAST that
he shall spend with his wife and children. Every day or week some acquaintance
is snatched from his side, and thus the consciousness of his own danger is
kept continually awake. "Surely my turn will come next," is his
harrowing conviction; for he knows that he was reared for this, as the ox
for the yoke, or the sheep for the slaughter. In this aspect, the slave's
condition is truly indescribable. Suspense, even when it relates to an event
of no great moment, and "endureth but for a night," is hard to
bear. But when it broods over all, absolutely all that is dear, chilling the
present with its deep shade, and casting its awful gloom over the future,
it must break the heart! Such is the suspense under which every slave in the
breeding State lives. It poisons all his little lot of bliss. If a father,
he cannot go forth to his toil without bidding a mental farewell to his wife
and children. He cannot return, weary and worn, from the field, with any certainty
that he shall not find his home robbed and desolate. Nor can he seek his bed
of straw and rags without the frightful misgiving that his wife may be torn
from his arms before morning. Should a white stranger approach his master's
mansion, he fears that the soul-driver has come, and awaits in terror the
overseer's mandate, "You are sold; follow that man." There is
no being on earth whom the slaves of the breeding States regard with so much
horror as the trader. He is to them what the prowling kidnapper is to their
less wretched brethren in the wilds of Africa. The master knows this, and
that there is no punishment so effectual to secure labour, or deter from misconduct,
as the threat of being delivered to the soul-driver.
Another consequence of this system is the prevalence of licentiousness.
This is indeed one of the foul features of slavery everywhere; but it is especially
prevalent and indiscriminate where slave-breeding is conducted as a business.
It grows directly out of the system, and is inseparable from it. * * * The
pecuniary inducement to general pollution must be very strong, since the larger
the slave increase the greater the master's gains, and especially since the
mixed blood demands a considerable higher price than the pure black.
The remainder of the extract contains specifications too dreadful to be
quoted. We can only refer the reader to the volume, p. 13.
The poets of America, true to the holy soul of their divine art, have shed
over some of the horrid realities of this trade the pathetic light of poetry.
Longfellow and Whittier have told us, in verses beautiful as strung pearls,
yet sorrowful as a mother's tears, some of the incidents of this unnatural
and ghastly traffic. For the sake of a common humanity, let us hope that the
first extract describes no common event.
THE QUADROON GIRL.
The Slaver in the broad lagoon
Lay moored with idle sail;
He waited for the rising moon,
And for the evening gale.
Under the shore his boat was tied,
And all her listless crew
Watched the grey alligator slide
Into the still bayou.
Odours of orange-flowers and spice
Reached them, from time to time,
Like airs that breathe from Paradise
Upon a world of crime.
The Planter, under his roof of thatch,
Smoked thoughtfully and slow;
The Slaver's thumb was on the latch,
He seemed in haste to go.
He said, "My ship at anchor rides
In yonder broad lagoon;
I only wait the evening tides,
And the rising of the moon."
Before them, with her face upraised,
In timid attitude,
Like one half curious, half amazed,
A Quadroon maiden stood.
Her eyes were large and full of light,
Her arms and neck were bare;
No garment she wore save a kirtle bright,
And her own long raven hair.
And on her lips there played a smile
As holy, meek, and faint,
As lights in some cathedral aisle
The features of a saint.
"The soil is barren, the farm is old,
The thoughtful Planter said
Then looked upon the Slaver's gold,
And then upon the maid.
His heart within him was at strife
With such accursed gains
For he knew whose passions gave her life,
Whose blood ran in her veins.
But the voice of nature was too weak
He took the glittering gold!
Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek
Her hands as icy cold.
The Slaver led her from the door,
He led her by the hand,
To be his slave and paramour
In a strange and distant land!
OF A VIRGINIA SLAVE MOTHER TO HER DAUGHTERS, SOLD INTO SOUTHERN
GONE, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,
Where the noisome insect stings
Where the fever demon strews
Poison with the falling dews,
Where the sickly sunbeams glare
Through the hot and misty air--
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
>From Virginia's hills and waters--
Woe is me, my stolen daughters!
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
There no mother's eye is near them,
There no mother's ear can hear them;
Never, when the torturing lash
Seams their back with many a gash,
Shall a mother's kindness bless them,
Or a mother's arms caress them.
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
Oh, when weary, sad, and slow,
>From the fields at night they go,
Faint with toil, and racked with pain,
To their cheerless homes again--
There no brother's voice shall greet them,
There no father's welcome meet them.
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
>From the tree whose shadow lay
On their childhood's place of play;
>From the cool spring where they drank;
Rock, and hill, and rivulet bank;
>From the solemn house of prayer,
And the holy counsels there--
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone;
Toiling through the weary day,
And at night the spoiler's prey.
Oh, that they had earlier died,
Sleeping calmly, side by side,
Where the tyrant's power is o'er,
And the fetter galls no more!
Gone, gone--sold and gone,
To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
By the holy love He beareth,
By the bruised reed He spareth,
Oh, may He, to whom alone
All their cruel wrongs are known,
Still their hope and refuge prove,
With a more than mother's love!
JOHN G. WHITTIER.
The following extract from a letter of Dr. Bailey, in the Era, 1847,
presents a view of this subject more creditable to some Virginia
families. May the number that refuse to part with slaves, except by emancipation,
The sale of slaves to the South is carried to a great extent. The slaveholders
do not, as far as I can learn, raise them for that special purpose. But, here
is a man with a score of slaves, located on an exhausted plantation. It must
furnish support for all; but, while they increase, its capacity of supply
decreases. The result is, he must emancipate or sell. But he has fallen into
debt, and he sells to relieve himself from debt, and also from an excess of
mouths. Or, he requires money to educate his children; or, his negroes are
sold under execution. From these and other causes, large numbers of slaves
are continually disappearing from the State, so that the next census will
undoubtedly show a marked diminution of the slave population.
The season for this trade is generally from November to April; and some
estimate that the average number of slaves passing the southern railroad weekly,
during that period of six months, is at least 200. A slave-trader told me
that he had known 100 pass in a single night. But this is only one route.
Large numbers were sent off westwardly, and also by sea, coastwise. The Davises,
in Petersburg, are the great slave-dealers. They are Jews, who came to that
place many years ago as poor peddlers; and, I am informed, are members of
a family which has its representatives in Philadelphia, New York, &c.
These men are always in the market, giving the highest price for slaves. During
the summer and fall they buy them up at low prices, trim, shave, wash them,
fatten them so that they may look sleek, and sell them to great profit. It
might not be unprofitable to inquire how much Northern capital, and what firms
in some of the Northern cities, are connected with this detestable business.
There are many planters here who cannot be persuaded to sell their slaves.
They have far more than they can find work for, and could at any time obtain
a high price for them. The temptation is strong, for they want more money
and fewer dependants. But they resist it, and nothing can induce them to part
with a single slave, though they know that they would be greatly the gainers
in a pecuniary sense were they to sell one-half of them. Such men are too
good to be slave-holders. Would that they might see it their duty to go one
step further, and become emancipators! The majority of this class of planters
are religious men, and this is the class to which generally are to be referred
the various cases of emancipation by will, of which from time to time we hear