The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America Part 5

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[32] Carey and Bioren, _Laws_, I. 165; _Penn. Col. Rec._, III.

171; Bettle, in _Penn. Hist. Soc. Mem._, I. 389, note.

[33] Carey and Bioren, _Laws_, I. 214; Bettle, in _Penn. Hist.

Soc. Mem._, I. 388. Possibly there were two acts this year.

[34] _Laws of Pennsylvania_ (ed. 1742), p. 354, ch. 287.

Possibly some change in the currency made this change appear greater than it was.

[35] Carey and Bioren, _Laws_, I. 371; _Acts of a.s.sembly_ (ed.

1782), p. 149; Dallas, _Laws_, I. 406, ch. 379. This act was renewed in 1768: Carey and Bioren, _Laws_, I. 451; _Penn. Col.

Rec._, IX. 472, 637, 641.

[36] _Penn. Col. Rec._, VIII. 576.

[37] A large pet.i.tion called for this bill. Much altercation ensued with the governor: Dallas, _Laws_, I. 671, ch. 692; _Penn. Col. Rec._, X. 77; Bettle, in _Penn. Hist. Soc. Mem._, I. 388-9.

[38] Dallas, _Laws_, I. 782, ch. 810.

[39] _Ibid._, I. 838, ch. 881.

[40] There exist but few estimates of the number of slaves in this colony:–

In 1721, 2,500-5,000. _Doc. rel. Col. Hist. New York_, V. 604.

” 1754, 11,000. Bancroft, _Hist. of United States_ (1883), II. 391.

” 1760, very few.” Burnaby, _Travels through N. Amer._ (2d ed.), p. 81.

” 1775, 2,000. _Penn. Archives_, IV 597.

[41] Dallas, _Laws_, II. 586.

[42] Cf. _Argonautica Gustaviana_, pp. 21-3; _Del. Hist. Soc.

Papers_, III. 10; _Hazard’s Register_, IV. 221, —- 23, 24; _Hazard’s Annals_, p. 372; Armstrong, _Record of Upland Court_, pp. 29-30, and notes.

[43] Force, _American Archives_, 4th Ser., II. 128-9.

[44] _Ibid._, 5th Ser., I. 1178; _Laws of Delaware, 1797_ (Newcastle ed.), p. 884, ch. 145 b.

[45] The following is a summary of the legislation of the colony of New Jersey; details will be found in Appendix A:–

1713, Duty Act: 10.

1763 (?), Duty Act.

1769, ” ” 15.

1774, ” ” 5 on Africans, 10 on colonial Negroes.

1786, Importation prohibited.

[46] Leaming and Spicer, _Grants, Concessions_, etc., p. 398.

Probably this did not refer to Negroes at all.

[47] Cf. Vincent, _History of Delaware_, I. 159, 381.

[48] _Laws and Acts of New Jersey, 1703-17_ (ed. 1717), p. 43.

[49] _N.J. Archives_, IV. 196. There was much difficulty in pa.s.sing the bill: _Ibid._, XIII. 516-41.

[50] _Ibid._, IX. 345-6. The exact provisions of the act I have not found.

[51] _Ibid._, IX. 383, 447, 458. Chiefly because the duty was laid on the importer.

[52] Allinson, _Acts of a.s.sembly_, pp. 315-6.

[53] _N.J. Archives_, VI. 222.

[54] _Acts of the 10th General a.s.sembly_, May 2, 1786. There are two estimates of the number of slaves in this colony:–

In 1738, 3,981. _American Annals_, II. 127.

” 1754, 4,606. ” ” II. 143.

_Chapter IV_


16. Character of these Colonies.

17. New England and the Slave-Trade.

18. Restrictions in New Hampshire.

19. Restrictions in Ma.s.sachusetts.

20. Restrictions in Rhode Island.

21. Restrictions in Connecticut.

22. General Character of these Restrictions.

16. ~Character of these Colonies.~ The rigorous climate of New England, the character of her settlers, and their p.r.o.nounced political views gave slavery an even slighter basis here than in the Middle colonies. The significance of New England in the African slave-trade does not therefore lie in the fact that she early discountenanced the system of slavery and stopped importation; but rather in the fact that her citizens, being the traders of the New World, early took part in the carrying slave-trade and furnished slaves to the other colonies. An inquiry, therefore, into the efforts of the New England colonies to suppress the slave-trade would fall naturally into two parts: first, and chiefly, an investigation of the efforts to stop the partic.i.p.ation of citizens in the carrying slave-trade; secondly, an examination of the efforts made to banish the slave-trade from New England soil.

17. ~New England and the Slave-Trade.~ Vessels from Ma.s.sachusetts,[1]

Rhode Island,[2] Connecticut,[3] and, to a less extent, from New Hampshire,[4] were early and largely engaged in the carrying slave-trade. “We know,” said Thomas Pemberton in 1795, “that a large trade to Guinea was carried on for many years by the citizens of Ma.s.sachusetts Colony, who were the proprietors of the vessels and their cargoes, out and home. Some of the slaves purchased in Guinea, and I suppose the greatest part of them, were sold in the West Indies.”[5] Dr.

John Eliot a.s.serted that “it made a considerable branch of our commerce…. It declined very little till the Revolution.”[6] Yet the trade of this colony was said not to equal that of Rhode Island. Newport was the mart for slaves offered for sale in the North, and a point of reshipment for all slaves. It was this trade that raised Newport to her commercial importance in the eighteenth century.[7]

Connecticut, too, was an important slave-trader, sending large numbers of horses and other commodities to the West Indies in exchange for slaves, and selling the slaves in other colonies.

This trade formed a perfect circle. Owners of slavers carried slaves to South Carolina, and brought home naval stores for their ship-building; or to the West Indies, and brought home; or to other colonies, and brought home hogsheads. The was made into the highly prized New England rum, and shipped in these hogsheads to Africa for more slaves.[8] Thus, the rum-distilling industry indicates to some extent the activity of New England in the slave-trade. In May, 1752, one Captain Freeman found so many slavers fitting out that, in spite of the large importations of, he could get no rum for his vessel.[9]

In Newport alone twenty-two stills were at one time running continuously;[10] and Ma.s.sachusetts annually distilled 15,000 hogsheads of into this “chief manufacture.”[11]

Turning now to restrictive measures, we must first note the measures of the slave-consuming colonies which tended to limit the trade. These measures, however, came comparatively late, were enforced with varying degrees of efficiency, and did not seriously affect the slave-trade before the Revolution. The moral sentiment of New England put some check upon the trade. Although in earlier times the most respectable people took ventures in slave-trading voyages, yet there gradually arose a moral sentiment which tended to make the business somewhat disreputable.[12] In the line, however, of definite legal enactments to stop New England citizens from carrying slaves from Africa to any place in the world, there were, before the Revolution, none. Indeed, not until the years 1787-1788 was slave-trading in itself an indictable offence in any New England State.

The particular situation in each colony, and the efforts to restrict the small importing slave-trade of New England, can best be studied in a separate view of each community.

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