Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

vielars of African Society. It seems, from the accounts given, that there exists between the different tribes, a constant state of hostility. Like the Ishmaelites of old, and the Camanche Indians of Texas and Mexico, these tribes are against all men, and all men against them. Their wars are undertaken with various pretexts : at times for plunder, and at other times to make Slaves of their enemies.

"Mungo Park informs us that the king of Dahomey is engaged in perpetual wars, not only with - a view to acquire Slaves, but in order to get his enemies, to water the graves of his ancestors with their blood. The tombs, palaces, and temples of his capitol, are ornamented with the skulls and

jaw-bones of his enemies captured in war. The floors of his private chambers, and halls of audience, are paved with these bones; and it is considered a sufficient cause for war, that the graves of his ancestors want more watering,” * or that his palace wants a new covering. It very

often happens that a tribe, without the least previous warning, or without the least provocation, - will surround' by night the village of a neighbor. ing tribe, set fire to the houses, and either put

the whole village to the slaughter, or spare such «as they think will make useful Slaves.— slaugh

[ocr errors]

tering the old men, children, and many of the

women.

ner.

The African Master has the most unlimited' control over his Slaves, especially those whom he has purchased with his money, or taken in war. He can, if he sees proper, put them to death, or otherwise treat them in the most inhuman man.

Travellers in Africa, mention numerous instances of inhumanity to servants. Sometimes they are confined to the earth until they are nearly stung to death by a large poisonous ant of that country : at other times they are almost burned to death; and where they become useless from age, infirmity, or from any other cause, they are put to death, as any planter would put to death a worthless dog. Our Negroes here are in Paradise, in comparison with the Negro Slaves in Africa.

I shall; hereafter, say something more in refer. ence to the condition of the African in his native country, and by comparison show the superior happiness of tife Slaves in this country.

I wish now to direct the attention of the reader to the African Slave Trade; but my remarks must be brief, as it would be incompatible with the de. sign of a work like this, to go into any thing like an extended notice of this subject. This trade

oxisted long before the discovery of this continent by Columbus. As early as the year 990, it was regularly carried on by Moorish merchants from Barbary. It was regularly established and carri. ed on by Europeans, at least half a century be. fore the discovery of this continent by Columbus. The Portuguese were the first Europeans that en. gaged in it : cupidity, and a hatred of all that dif. fered with them on the subjeet of the Christian religion, were the motives that impelled them to this traffic. The Spaniards soon followed the Portuguese, and very early took the lead in the trade.

The first Slaves brought to the New World, were landed in Hispaniola, about the year 1500. At first, the trade was, probably, contraband; “ but a royal edict soon permitted Negro Slaves, born in Slavery among Christians, to be transported to Hispaniola.” In the year 1503- only two years after the royal permission to bring in Slaves —so many had arrived, that the Governor, Orvando, became alarmed; and begged that no more be permitted to enter the island.

The pretext at first set up in order to cover the design of the traffic-of importing such Slaves only as had been bred in Christian families, with a view of converting the native Indians to Chris. tianity-was soon abandoned, as the value of Negro Slave labor became every day more and more apparent. It was found, in fact, utterly im. possible to cultivate sugar, and other tropical preducts, with out the assistance of Negro Slaves, as their constitutions were alone found capable of enduring exposure in tropical climates.

In the year 1510, Ferdinand, himself, then king of Spain, sent over fifty Slaves from Seville, to work in the mines of Hispaniola. And as the value of the African became more and more apparent, one of them being considered equal to four natives, a direct traffic was permitted between Guinea and Hispaniola.

Charles V. sanctioned the trade, and the bene. volent Las Casas suggested a further continuance of the traffic, as it had then (1517) become apparent that the constitution of the Negro was

eminently fitted for hard labor in a hot climate, Whilst the native Indian, when reduced to Slavery, and forced to work, melted away like dew before the rising sun.

As before intimated, a minute history of Slave. rry and the Slave Trade is incompatible with the

design of a work like this — I must therefore content myself with only brief notices. The trade continued to flourish: great numbers of Slaves

were brought over, but it is said that it was nev. er sanctioned by the Roman See. Some of the "Roman pontiffs, as Leo X. and Paul III., took a bold and decided stand against it.

Sir John Hawkins was the first Englishman that engaged in this trade. In the year 1562, he imported a cargo of Slaves into the island of Hispaniola, and carried back a rich return cargoconsisting of ginger, sugar, and pearls. Queen Elizabeth was so much charmed with the rich cargo of Hawkins, that she readily encouraged the traffic; and even formed a copartnership with him in the trade, with a view to future profit. The trade with the Spanish ports was illicit : nevertheless, the queen did not hesitate to incur its hazards, for the sake of its profits.

In the year 1645, a vessel belonging to a man by the name of Thomas Keyser, and another by the name of James Smith — the latter, a member of the Church, at Boston -- brought in a cargo of African Slaves from Guinea ; but such was the opposition to the traffic, that the Negroes were -sent back at the public charge, with a strong expression of indignation on the part of the General Assembly.

In the State of Virginia, conditional servitude yunder indentures was permitted from the first.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »