CapeCodHistory.us
19th Century articles
Making of America at U. Michigan

posted Jan 2006
Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources.
New Orleans [etc.]: J. D. B. DeBow
Volume 2 (3): 296-298
Sept 1866

The editor was an obsessed apologist for slavery before the Civil War, and apparently couldn't just give it up afterwards.


ART. IX.-THE MASSACHUSETTS SLAVE TRADE.

" No person was «ver born a slave on the soil of Massachusetts."— Charles Sumner, speech in the U. S. Senate, June 28, 1854.
" In fact; no person was ever born into legal slavery in Massachusetts."— Palfrey, History of New England, vol. II, p. 30, note.
    The wicked pretension which has characterized the writings and speeches of some Massachusetts orators and so-called statesmen in the last quarter of a century, in regard to slavery, has been recently most ably exposed and unmasked by Mr. Geo. H. Moore, of New York, in a work which he has recently published, entitled " Notes on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts." (D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1866. )
In this able and learned volume, the author shows in minute detail how that the early Massachusetts colonists enslaved the Indians and sold them to the West Indies, how profitable they found the traffic, how they introduced Africans and practiced all the atrocities of the slave-trade, how the courts, the General Assembly, the public press and the pulpit sustained the traffic and the rights of shivery, and how it died out slowly at last, etc., etc.
    And this is the people who say to us now, "We are more righteous than you are," and whose pious hands are uplifted in horror over the wrongs of the poor negro, and who cannot hold Christian fellowship, nor hardly maintain political union with, except as inferiors, those who happened to remain a few years longer in the practice which they introduced and taught.                
    We have not the time nor the space to enter very fully into the merits of Mr. Moore's volume, nor is it necessary, as the few extracts that we shall furnish will tell the whole story, which Messrs. Sumner and Palfrey have ingeniously attempted to conceal.
    "The instances are numerous" in disproof of the pretension of Mr. Sumner, says Mr. Moore, "but it may be proper to refer to the facts, that in the instructions of the town of Leicester to their representatives in 1773, among the ways suggested for extinguishing slavery, they proposed that every negro child born after the enacting of such law shall be free, &c.; and in a petition of the negro slaves for relief in 1777, they humbly pray that their children, born in the land, may not be held as slaves after they arrive at the age of 21 !! "
    "In 1727 the traffic in slaves appears to have been an object more than at any other period." Page 60. " In 1718 all Indian, negro, and mulatto servants for life were estimated as other personal estate—each male slave at $15 and each frmalc at $10." P. 64. "The Guinea trade, as it was called then, whose beginnings we have noticed, continued to flourish under this auspices of the Massachusetts merchants, down through the entire colonial period, and long after the boasted Declaration of Rights in 1780 had
p. 297
terminated (?) the legal existence of slavery within the limits of the State." Page 66. On same page see elaborate instructions of the Massachusetts merchants to their slaver captains in 1785, taken from Felt's History of Salem.
    The Boston News Letter, June 10, 1700, begins to discover that the possession of African slaves is not so profitable, etc. (Hinc illæ lacrymæ !) We quote from the author, p. 107:
    "We are furnished with a list of 44 negroes, dead last year, which being computed at £30 each, amount to the sum of £1,330 lost to the colony." " Negroes are generally eye-servants, groat thieves, much addicted to stealing, lying, &c." " If a white servant die the loss exceeds not £10, but if a negro die (poor negro) 'tis a very great loss". "A certain person within these six years had two negroes dead, computed both at £00, which would have procured him six white servants at £10 per head, to have served 24 years without running such a risque." [Abolition all over.—Editor.]
    But we cannot waste time: would any one suppose that in reading the following advertisements, which Mr. Moore has collected, issued when the guns of the Revolutionary War were booming, the saintly people of Massachusetts could be restrained from seizing upon the luckless editors and demolishing their offices. What Vandals !
    From the Independent Chronicle, October, 3, 1776.—"To bo Sold—A stout, hearty, likely negro girl, fit for either town or country. Inquire of Mr. Andrew Gillespie, Dorchester, Oct. 1, 1776."
    From the same, October 10.—"A hearty negro man, with a small sum of money, to be given away."
    From the same, November 28.—"To Sell—A hearty, likely negro wench, .about 12 or 15 years of age; has had the small-pox ; can wash, iron, card, and spin, etc.; for no other fault but for want of employ."
    From the same, February 27, 1777.—"Wanted—A negro girl between 12 and 20 years of age; for which a good price will be given, if she can be recommended."
    From the Continental Journal, April 3, 1777.—"To be Sold—A likely negro man, 22 years old ; has had the small-pox; can do any sort of business; sold for want of employment."
    "To be Sold—A large, commodious dwelling-house, barn and outhouses, with any quantity of land, from one to fifty acres, as the purchaser shall choose, within five miles of Boston; also a smart, well-tempered negro boy of 14 years old ; not to fio out of this State, and sold for 15 years only, if he continues to behave well."
    From the Independent Chronicle, May 8, 1777.—"To be Sold—For want of employ—a likely, strong negro girl, about 18 years old; understands all sorts of household business, and can be well recommended."
    Yet five years after these editors were still living, and continued to fill up their available space as is seen in what comes next, p. 208 :
    From the Continental Journal, March 30th and April fith, 1730.—" To be sold, very cheap, for no other reason than for want of employ, an exceeding active nogro boy, aged fifteen ; also, a likvlv' negro i»iil, aged seventeen."
    From the Continental Journal, August 17, 1780.—"To be Sold—A likely negro boy."
    From the same, August 24th and September 7th.—"To be sold or let for a term of years, a strong, hearty, likely negro girl."
p 298

    From the same, October 19th and 26th, and November 2d.—"To be Sold—A. likely negro b«y, ahout eighteen years of age, fit to serve a gentleman, to tend horses or to work in the country."
    From the same, October 26th, 1780.—"To be Sold—A likely negro boy, about 13 years old; well calculated to wait on a gentleman. Inquire of the Printer."
    " To be sold—A likely young cow and calf. Inquire of the Printer."
    Indepenent Chronicle, Dec. 14th, 21st., 28th, 1780.—" A negro child, soon expected, of a good breed, may be owned by anyperson inclining to take it, and money with it."
    Continental Journal, Dec. 21, 1780, and Jan. 4, 1781.—"To bo Sold—A hearty, strong negro wench ; about 29 years of age ; fit for town or country."