The Story of Britain's rise to Glory through Slavery and pillaging its Empires and Colonies.
The Rise of Capitalism on the bodies of Slaves, and the separation of its profit taking investors, from any reponsibility for their actions through Company activity.
1564-1569Sir John Hawkins, the first English slave trader, makes four voyages to Sierra Leone River, taking a total of 1200 Africans across the Atlantic to sell to the Spanish settlers in the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. Hawkins was the first Englishman to deport Africans from the west coast of Africa for sale in the West Indies. From the 17th century, Britain joined the Portuguese, Dutch and French in this large-scale, global commercial enterprise, becoming masters in the trade in human cargo.
1555First voyageHis first voyage, of 1555, led three small ships to the Sierra Leone coast in order to capture slaves. He left Africa with 300 Africans, having seized them from the Portuguese. Despite having two ships seized by the Spanish authorities, he sold the slaves in Santo Domingo and thus made a profit for his London investors. His voyage caused the Spanish to ban all English ships from trading in their West Indies colonies.
Potatoes were first imported to England in either 1563 or 1565 (sources differ) by Hawkins. Some scholars suggest it was John Hawkins who introduced tobacco into England. Some accounts say this was in 1569, others in 1564. The latter is more likely, since he mentions "Ltobaccoj" (meaning tobacco) in his journals of the second voyage.The OED notes that the word shark appears to have been introduced by Hawkin's sailors, who brought one back and exhibited it in London in 1569. It has recently been suggested that the derivation is from xoc the word for "fish" in a Mayan language spoken in Yukatan.
1564Second voyageIn 1564, Queen Elizabeth I rented him the huge old 700-tonne ship Jesus of Lubeck, and he set forth on his second longer and more extensive voyage along with three small ships. Hawkins sailed to Borburata, privateering along the way. By the time he reached Borburata, he had gathered around 400 slaves. After Borburata, Hawkins sailed to Rio de la Hacha. The Spanish officials tried to prevent Hawkins' sale of the slaves by imposing taxes. Captain Hawkins refused the taxes and threatened to burn the towns. After selling his cargo, Captain Hawkins sailed to a French colony in Florida for a respite. Captain Hawkins returned to England in September 1566, his expedition a total success as his financiers made a 60% profit.
1567Third voyageHis third voyage was in 1567. Hawkins again traded for slaves with local leaders, and also augmented his cargo by capturing the Portuguese slave shipMadre de Dios (Mother of God) and its human cargo. He took about 400 slaves across the Atlantic on the third trip. At Vera Cruz he was chanced upon by a strong Spanish force that was bringing the new viceroy to the colony there. Only two of the English ships escaped destruction, and Hawkins' voyage home was a miserable one.
Although his first three voyages were semi-piratical enterprises, Queen Elizabeth I was in need of money and England saw pirates as fighting England's battles at their own cost and risk. Hawkins wrote about the details of his third voyage in An Alliance to Raid for Slaves. Specifically he commented on how trading and raiding were closely related in the English slave trade and how European success in the slave trade directly depended on African allies who were willing to cooperate.
Hawkins pretended to be part of the Ridolfi plot to betray Queen Elizabeth in 1571. He offered his services to the Spanish, in order to obtain the release of prisoners and to discover plans for the proposed Spanish invasion of England.
His Navy financial reforms upset many who had vested interests - principally Baker and Pett - and these concocted a Royal Commission on Fraud against him in 1583. But he was found innocent.
1607Colony of Virginia is founded – the first permanent English settlement in North America. Virginia soon becomes one of the main areas for the arrival of enslaved Africans.
1620 The first imported Africans were brought as indentured servants, not slaves. They were required, as white indentured servants were, to serve nine years. Many were brought to the British North American colonies, specifically Jamestown, Virginia in 1620
1625Barbadosbecomes an English Caribbean colony.
1641 - Massachusetts becomes the first colony to legalize slavery.
1660 It replaced the first charter to the company known as the Company of Royal Adventurers
1655England seizes Jamaica from Spain. 1636-1721Edward Colston
Edward Colston by Michael Rysbrack, c.1726. Colston (1636-1721) was a Bristol merchant who was involved in the transatlantic slave trade as an official of the London-based Royal African Company (a trading company that specialised in the trade with Africa).
1702-1713 War of the Spanish Succession. In 1713 Britain gains all of St. Kitts, and the right (asiento) to import enslaved people to Spanish America is granted to the South Sea Company.
1672(24 Sept)The King Grants the Right to Trade in Africa CO 268/1, ff. 8 10
This is an extract from the royal charter granted to the Royal African Company by King Charles II in 1672. It replaced the first charter to the company (then known as the Company of Royal Adventurers), granted in 1660.
In the 1672 charter the king states that 'the Trade of the said Regions, Countries and places is of great advantage to Our [the king's] subjects of this kingdome, and for the improvement thereof'. Members of the company to whom the grant was made included the king's brother, the Duke of York (later James II).
The Royal African Company of England their CHARTER
Charles the Second by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland, France, and Ireland Defender of ye Faithe. To all to whom these presents shall come Greeting. Whereas all and singular ye Regions, Countries, Dominions and Territories, Continents, Coasts and places, now or at any time heretofore, called or knowne by the name or names Guiny, Buiny, Angola, or South Barbary, or by any of them, or which are or have been reputed, esteemed or taken to bee parcel or member of any Region, Country, Dominion, Territory, or Continent called Guiny, Buiny, Angola, or South Barbary, And all and singular Ports and Havens, Rivers, Creeks, Islands, and places in the parts of Africa to them or any of them belonging, and the sole and only Trade and Trafique thereof are the undoubted Right of Us, Our Heires and Successors, and are, and have been enjoyed by us, and by our Predecessors, for many yeares past, as in Right of this Our Crown of England. And whereas the Trade of the said Regions, Countries, and places is of great advantage to Our subjects of this kingdome, and, for the improvement thereof, divers attempts have been made, and several Charters granted, by Our Royal Progenitors, to several persons, with such Powers and Authorities as were then conceived proper for the carrying on of the said Trade. But all the said endeavors have proved ineffectual until Wee by Letters .......
And of Our more especial Grace certain knowledge, and meer motion Wee have given and granted, and for Us, Our Heires and Successors doe hereby owe and grant unto
Our Dearest Brother James Duke of Yorke & Anthony Earle of Shaftesbury, Mr. John Buckworth, S[i]r. John Banks, John Bence esq. William Earl of Craven, Mr. James Cartwright, Mr. Samuel Dashwood, S[i]r. Richard Ford, Mr. Thomas Farrington, Capt Ferdinando Gorges, Mr. Edward Hopegood, Mr. John Jefferys, Sir. Andrew King, Charles Modyford esquire, Mr. Samuel Moyer, Mr. Peter Proby, Mr. Gabriel Roberts, S[i]r. John Shaw, Mr. Benjamin Skut, Sir. Robert Viner, Mr. Thomas Vernon, Mr. Nicholas Warren, and Mr. Richard Young, their Executors and Assignes.
All and singular the Regions, Countrys, Dominions, Territories, Continents, Coasts, and Places, lying and being within the limits and bounds hereafter menc[i]oned (that is to say) Beginning at ye Port of Seilley in South Barbary inclusive, and extending, from thence, to Cape De bona Esperanza inclusive, with all the Islands neer adjoyning to those Coasts, and comprehended within the Limits aforesaid. Which Regions, Countrys, Dominions, Territories, Continents, Coasts, places and Islands have been heretofore called or known by the name of South Barbary, Guinny, Binny, or Angola, or by some or any other name or names which are or have been reputed esteemed or taken to bee part, parcell or Member of any Country, Region, Dominion, Territory or Continent within the limits aforesaid. And all and singular Ports, Harbors, Creeks, Islands, Lakes, and places in the parts of Africa to them or any of them belonging or being under the the obedience of any King, State; or Potentate of any Region, Dominion or Country within the limits aforesaid. To have & to hold all and singular the said Regions, Countrys, DominionsTerritories, Continents, Islands, Coasts, and places aforesaid. And all and singular other the premisses within ye limits aforesaid to the said James Duke of York, Anthony Earle of Shaftesbury, Mr. John Buckworth, S[i]r John Banks, John Bence esq. William Earl of Craven, Mr. Jarvis Cartwright, Mr. Samuel Dashwood, S[i]r. Richard Ford, Mr. Thomas Farrington, Capt Ferdinando Gorges, Mr. Edward Hopegood, Mr. John Jefferies, S[i]r. Andrew King, Charles Modyford esq, Mr. Samuel Moyer, Mr. Peter Proby, Mr. Gabriel Roberts, S[i]r. John Shaw, Mr. Benjamin Skut, S[i]r. Robert Viner, Mr. Thomas Vernon, Mr. Nicholas Warren, and Mr. Richard Young, their Executors and assignes, from the making of these Our Letters Patents, for and during the terme, and unto the full end and terme of One thousand yeares. Yeilding and paying Rendering therefore unto us, Our Heirs, and Successors Two Elephants whenever Wee, Our Heires, or Successors, or any of them, shall arrive, land or come into the Dominions, Regions, Countries, Territories, Plantations, and places before menc[i]oned or any of them. Nevertheless Our will and pleasure is, and wee doe hereby declare the true intent and meaning of these presents to bee, That this Our present Grant and Demise of ye Regions Countrys, Dominions, Territorys, Continents, Islands Coasts, and places aforesaid. And all the benefit, commodity, profit, and advantage made, and to bee made and gotten out of ye same, or by reason of the terme aforesaid shall bee, and shall bee interpreted to bee, in Trust, and for ye sole use, benefit, and behoofe of the Royal African Company of England hereafter mentioned and their successors and after in any by these presents incorporated or mentioned to bee incorporated And....
King Charles II encouraged the expansion of the slave trade. He granted a charter to a group of men, the Royal Adventurers, who later became the Royal African Company (RAC). The king and the Duke of York backed this enterprise by investing private funds. The charter stated that the Company 'had the whole, entire and only trade for buying and selling bartering and exchanging of for or with any Negroes, slaves, goods, wares, merchandise whatsoever'. The king therefore gave full support to this system of trading.
The first Royal African Company ships sailed from Liverpool and Bristol to develop their commercial activity along the West African coast. Over the next two centuries, these two cities grew from the profits of the slave trade.
The trading rights granted to the Royal African Company by Charles II were limited to the territories shown; they ended at the Cape of Good Hope, where the trading rights of the East India Company began. This document provides a fascinating glimpse of European contact with Africa at this date. Many of the place names are identified below the transcript.
Accompt of the Limits & Trade for ye African Company.
The Royal African Compa[ny]'s Limits for Trade granted them by His Ma[jes]ties Charter, doe begin at Sally in South Barbary neer Tangier; and end at Cabobuen Esperança, where the limits of the East India Company take place.
The Trade for Barbary, is hitherto followed, by particular persons, because the Royal Company have not thought fit, as yet, to take it up. From thence comes Bees-wax, Copper, Goatskins, Gold, Oyles, Corne, Feathers, Jumms, and many other Comodities.
The Canary Islands are within the Company's charter, but they have not alsoe, hitherto, thought fit to take up that Trade, but leave it, to bee followed by particular persons.
Next begins the North Coast of Guinny, neer the Cape de Verde Islands.
In the River Gambia, upon JamesIsland, the Compa[ny] have built a Fort, where seaventy men, at least, are kept. And there is a Factory from whence Eliphants Teeth, Bees-wax, and Cowhides are exported in very considerable quantities. The River Gambia is very large, and runs up very high (much higher than any discovery hath bin made) and it is supposed the Gold comes most from places, at the head of this River.
Rio, Riopongo Calsamança, Rio Grande & Catchao.
The Company have several small factorys in this River, vizt, at Rio Noones, Riopongo, and Calsamança, and doe trade by their Sloops, to Rio Grande and Catchao, for those Commodities, and alsoe for Negro's.
The next River, where the Compa[ny] doe trade at, is Sieralion, where a factory is setled, for buying the same Comodities.
Thence they sail into another River called Sherbero, where alsoe a factory is setled, and the Trade there is cheifly for Red-wood, useful in dying; of which sometimes Three hundred Tonns per ann, may bee got, and some Elephants Teeth.
CapeMount & Cestos.
Thence they trade to Cabe Mount, and Cestos, for Elephants-teeth; and there hath been formerly a factory setled alsoe.
Graine & Luaqua - Coast.
And all along by Ships staying, sometimes a day, sometimes more, they trade in the Graine and LuaquaCoast, for Guiny-grains, or Mallaguette (which is phisic for Negro's) and for quaqua-cloths which are carried to sell at the Gold-coast, and for Teeth.
Then, at CapeTrespontes begins the Trade for Gold, and soe along that coast, they have several Factories, but their names are not laid downe in ye Mapps, vist. Ashinee, Abinee, Dixiscove, Anashan, Anto, Succondee, Anamaboo, Wyamba, and Aga.
They had Cormentine, but it was taken from them in the first Dutch - warr, when Mr Selroyn was Agent; at the same time the English took Cabo-Corso, from ye Dutch.
At Cabo-Corso-Castle is now their Cheife port, and place of Trade, having there about one hundred English besides Slaves. It's the Residence of their Agent General, who furnisheth, from thence, all their several under-factories with goods, and receives from them, Gold, Elephants-Teeth, and Slaves.
Castel de Mina.
Neer Cabo-Corso is the GreatCastle called the Mina, belonging to the Dutch.
Then, more Leewardly, the Company hath another factory at Acra, for gold, to be sent thence to Cabo-corso.
Their next place of Trade is at Ardra only for Slaves, which are there very plentifull, and a factory is setled there alsoe.
Next follows Benin, where a factory is setled for buying cloths made of Cotton, of which they procure great quantitys, and bring them to Cabo-corso, to sell there, and on the Gold-Coast.
Bite. New & Old Calabar.
Then, more Leewardly, lyeth he Bite, whither many Ships are sent to Trade at New and Old Calabar, but those places being very unhealthy, there are noe factories setled, and only a Trade used by the Masters of Ships for Slaves and Teeth, which are there to bee had in great plenty, and alsoe in the Rivers Cameroones and Gaboones, which are neer.
A Trade for Angola is begun, and they have Ordered a factory to settle neer the Portugal's cheife Citty at Sunio Whence it's hoped quantities of Slaves may bee got and much Copper.
They have not yet discovered any other places within the limits of their Charter.
The Slaves they purchas[e]d are sent, for a Supply of Servants, to all His Ma[jes]tie's American Plantations which cannot subsist without them.
The Gold and Elephants Teeth, and other Commodities, which are procured in Africa, are all brought into England. The Gold is always coined in His Ma[jes]tie's Mint. And the Elephants = Teeth, and all other goods, which the Company receives, either from Africa or the Plantations, in returne for their Negros, are always sold publicly at a Candle.
Modern equivalents of place names
Sally Salé - just north of Rabat, Morocco.
Barbary [States] North of Africa - now parts of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Cabo buen EsperançaCape of Good Hope.
Guinny Guinea. Refers to a stretch of the west coast of Africa, never very well-defined, but much larger than the area of the coast now occupied by Guinea and Guinea-Bissau.
RioRio Nunez. River estuary - now in Guinea.
Rio-pongo Rio Pongo. River estuary - now in Guinea.
Calsamança Casamance. This appears to refer to the river rather than the region of this name - now in Senegal.
Rio Grande Appears to be the Corubal river, now in Guinea-Bissau.
Catchao Cacheu (town and river - now in Guinea-Bissau) or Catió (town in Guinea-Bissau). The former is more likely, as it is south of the Rio Grande/Corubal, whereas Cacheu is north, and the list seems to be running generally north to south.
Sieralion Sierra Leone. This reference appears to be to the river.
Sherbero Sherbro river. Now in Sierra Leone.
CapeMountGrandCape Mount. Now in Liberia.
Cestos Cess river. Now in Liberia. The river used to be called Cestos, but is now the Cess (although there is still a Cestos Point).
GraineGrain Coast. Now in Liberia.
Luaqua Probably 'Quaqua' (not located).
Cape Trespontes Perhaps Cape Three Points, in Ghana.
Cormentine Kormantyn (Cormantyn or Kormantine), Dutch fort, built 1631, W of Saltpond - now in Ghana.
Cabo-Corso-Castle Cape Coast Castle, Ghana.
Castel de Mina Elmina, in Ghana. This was a British fort in the 17th century.
Acra Accra. Now in Ghana.
Ardra Probably Ouidah, now in Benin.
BeninBenin - kingdom and city (not the modern country).
London and the Slave Trade
All over Britain families benefited from the Atlantic slave trade. Bristol and Liverpool were the most important ports. Approximately 1.5 million enslaved people - about half those taken by the British from Africa - were carried in ships from Liverpool. London was also one of the main trading centres (particularly in earlier years of the slave trade) because of the transport links provided by the River Thames and the London docks. Merchants based in Blackheath, Deptford and Greenwich handled some 75% of sugar imports.
A number of Londoners closely involved with the Atlantic slave trade developed their businesses in this prime location. For example, Ambrose Crowley, an iron merchant, produced manacles and irons for tethering slaves on ships. John Angerstein, a Blackheath merchant and founder of Lloyd's of London, owned estates in Grenada. The Pett family, master shipbuilders in Deptford, built many of the ships that were involved in the Atlantic trade. Woodlands from their estate (today's Petts Wood) provided timber for their shipbuilding business. The East India Company also had ships built at Deptford
This document shows the amount of arms and ammunition at CapeCoastCastle in 1771. It illustrates not only how heavily armed the forts were, but also how arms and ammunition were shipped to the coast of West Africa from Britain. Some of the stores listed here were probably used as barter to acquire enslaved Africans.
BT 6/1 (April 1771)
Guns for Slaves
The slave trade had a major impact on Britain's economy. Ships loaded with goods left Britain for the West African coast. There, commodities were bartered for all manner of tropical products, including humans. Military supplies were regularly shipped to forts in West Africa. Royal African Company schedules reveal a methodical record-keeping system for exchanging brass rods, cutlery and guns manufactured in Birmingham. The historian F. W. Hackwood argues that the West African slave trade was the chief supporter of the gun industry in Wednesbury and Darlaston, and gunsmiths in the Midlands produced most of the 150,000 guns which British ships exchanged annually for Africans.
Ships rarely travelled empty. British shipbuilders constructed specially built vessels for the slave trade. Ships designed to carry human cargo from Africa would be converted to hold raw materials such as rum, tobacco, molasses and sugar, collected from the West Indies. To complete the cycle known as the 'triangular trade', these raw materials were then brought back to England to be turned into manufactured goods. These goods were then sold on at considerable profit in Britain and Europe. There can be little doubt that such a system of trade substantially boosted the development of Britain's commerce and manufacturing.
1680-1686 Between 1680 and 1686, an average of 5000 slaves a year were transported across the Atlantic.
1698 Royal African Company monopoly is ended. The slave trade is opened officially to private traders.
1705 The Virginia General Assembly declares: 'All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves...shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resist his master...correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction...the master shall be free of all punishment’.
1719 Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe is published.
1720 The South Sea Bubble: South Sea Company share prices become enormously inflated before collapsing in September, resulting in a stock market crash.
1729 Ignatius Sancho is born (probably on board a slave ship).
1730-1739 First Maroon War in Jamaica. British agree a treaty with the Maroon leader Cudjoe in 1739.
1735-36 Tackey’s slave rebellion in Antigua.
1745 Olaudah Equiano (author of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African) is born.
1756-63 Seven Years War. Britain gains Dominica, Grenada, St Vincent and Tobago.
1759 William Wilberforce, the abolitionist, is born in Hull.
1760 Slave rebellion in Jamaica led by Tacky.
1760 Thomas Clarkson, the abolitionist, is born.
1770s The abolitionist campaigner Granville Sharpe collects evidence showing that slavery is incompatible with English Law.
1772 The Somerset case in London. Chief Justice Lord Mansfield rules that enslaved people in England cannot be forced to return to the West Indies.
1772-73 John Stedman joins a military expedition to suppress a slave rebellion in Surinam, South America and is appalled by the inhumanity shown to Africans. In 1796 he publishes a full account of his experiences that becomes a classic of abolitionist literature.
William Prattinton of Bewdley, attributed to Edward Alcock, c.1770. Prattinton was a merchant from Bewdley in Worcestershire. He imported Caribbean goods (such as mahogany wood) from Bristol to Bewdley up the river Severn.
1775-83 American War of Independence. France seizes Grenada, Tobago and St Kitts from Britain but retains only Tobago after the Peace of Versailles.
1778 The Knight vs Wedderburn legal case in Edinburgh rules that enslavement is incompatible with Scots law.
1783 The Zong case: 131 Africans were thrown overboard from the slave ship Zong, but the case is heard as an insurance dispute not a murder trial. The case causes outrage and strengthens the abolition campaign.
1786 Thomas Clarkson’s 'An essay on the slavery and commerce of the human species’ is published and makes an immediate impact.
1787 The Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is founded.
1788 In response to growing concern about conditions in the 'Middle Passage' the Dolben Act limits the number of enslaved people a ship is permitted to carry. Even with these restrictions, conditions remain dreadful.
1789 Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African is published.
1789 The French Revolution begins in July. Its ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity spark discontent in the slave colonies.
1790 William Wilberforce presents the first abolition bill to the House of Commons, but it does not pass.
1791-1804 A slave uprising in St Domingue in 1791 starts off the Haitian Revolution, led by Toussaint L’Ouverture with an army of ex-slaves. The revolution eventually leads to St Domingue becoming independent Haiti in 1804.
1792 House of Commons votes in favour of the abolition of the slave trade but the bill is rejected by the House of Lords.
1793-1802 French Revolutionary War between Britain and France effectively delays the abolition campaign.
1794France abolishes slavery and frees all enslaved people in her colonies. Legislation is passed by US Congress to prevent US vessels being used in the slave trade.
1795-96 Second Maroon War in Jamaica, ending in defeat for the Maroons.
1795 Fédon’s Rebellion in Grenada causes enormous damage to plantations. Enslaved people seize control of large parts of the island before being defeated by British troops in 1796.
1795 Rebellion in St Vincent results in expulsion of Black Caribs from the island in 1796
1796 Napoleon seizes power in France and soon restores slavery in the French colonies. 1802 First West India dock opens.
1802-03 Toussaint L’Ouverture, leader of the Haitian Revolution, is taken prisoner by French in 1802 and dies in captivity in 1803.
1803-15 Napoleonic Wars between Britain and France. Vienna Settlement confirms British control of St. Lucia, Tobago and the Guiana colonies.
1804 On January 1, St Domingue is declared the republic of Haiti, the first independent black state outside Africa.
1807 The Transatlantic Slave Trade is abolished by the British Parliament. US also bans the slave trade, to take effect the following year.Britain declares Sierra Leone (in West Africa) a crown colony.
1808 The British West Africa Squadron is established at Sierra Leone to suppress any illegal slave trading by British citizens. Between 1810-65, nearly 150,000 people are freed by anti-slavery squadrons.
1810Britain negotiates with Portugal for the abolition of the South Atlantic slave trade.
1815 End of the Napoleonic Wars. At the Congress of ViennaBritain puts pressure on France, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain to abolish slave trade.
1816 Bussa’s slave rebellion in Barbados, inspired by the Haitian revolution, causes huge damage in the harvest season before being brutally crushed.
1817Spain signs a treaty with England agreeing to end the Spanish slave trade north of the equator immediately, and south of the equator in 1820.
1817 Slave Registration Act forces all slave owners to provide a list of all the enslaved people they own every two years.
1820US law makes slave trading a crime equal to piracy, punishable by death.
1823 Black actor Billy Waters dies penniless in the St Giles workhouse.
1823 Slave rising in Demerara is brutally suppressed by British forces: 250 enslaved people die, and Rev John Smith of the London Missionary Society is sentenced to death for his part, causing outrage in Britain.
1823 Anti-Slavery Committee formed in London to campaign for total abolition of slavery.
1831 Major slave revolt called 'The Baptists’ War’ breaks out in Jamaica, led by Baptist preacher Sam Sharpe, and is brutally suppressed.
1831 Nat Turner leads a slave rebellion in the US.
1831The History of Mary Prince is published in London and becomes an important part of the anti-slavery literature.
1832 The Great Reform Act introduces new Members of Parliament from groups who are more likely to oppose slavery.
1833 Abolition of Slavery Act – Britain abolishes slavery and provides for the emancipation of enslaved people in the British West Indies, to take effect in August 1834. The Act declares that the former enslaved people must serve a period of apprenticeship before receiving full emancipation. Originally this period was set at six years, but it was later reduced to four.
1833 William Wilberforce dies on 29 July, three days after the bill to emancipate enslaved people is passed.
1838 Emancipation of enslaved people in British territories. Colonial assemblies pass laws against vagrancy and squatting to support the planters’ interests.
1839A group of 49 enslaved Africans on board the slave ship Amistad revolt off the coast of Cuba. The ship lands at New London, USA, where the Africans are taken into custody. American abolitionists take up their cause and in March 1841 the Supreme Court upholds their freedom.
1840J.W.M. Turner’s controversial painting 'The Slave Ship’ (also called 'Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying – Typhoon coming on’) is put on display at the RoyalAcademy in London. The same exhibition also includes Auguste Biard’s painting 'Scene on the Coast of Africa'.
The Thirteenth Amendment marks the abolition of slavery in the USA at the end of the American Civil War.
1865The largest and most famous uprising by black Jamaicans. In a riot in MorantBay the crowd attacks the police station and the local militia killing 17 Europeans and wounding 32. Over a few days a number of plantations are also attacked. The authorities react violently and declare martial law. The ringleaders are executed and around 400 blacks are killed.
1886Abolition of slavery in Cuba.
1888Abolition of slavery in Brazil.
Many slaves were owned by plantation owners who lived in Britain. The British courts had made a series of contradictory rulings on the legality of slavery which encouraged several thousand slaves to flee the newly-independent United States as refugees along with the retreating British in 1783. The British courts having ruled in 1772 that such slaves could not be forcibly returned to North America (see James Somersett and Somersett's Case for a review of the Somerset Decision), the British Government resettled them as free men in Sierra Leone.
London and the Slave Trade
Britain had substantial involvement with the slave trade in the 16th and early 17th centuries, though France and Portugal were more active. However from the late 17th century onwards, a growing number of merchants in London and elsewhere became involved in the slave trade. The Royal African Company was founded in 1672 and was granted a monopoly in trading in slaves, though this was taken away in 1698. The shareholders in the Royal African Company included 15 Lord Mayors, 25 sheriffs and 38 aldermen of the City of London (see Profit display case, exhibit 1). London assumed a permanent and central role as the financial hub of the triangular trade by inventing new forms of credit, such as bills payable after three years, to cover the length and financial risks of a typical slave voyage.
The horrors of the long journey to the Americas were vividly described by John Newton . Most slave traders tried to squeeze as many slaves as possible into the hold of the ship, in order to increase their profit. Between 1680 and 1688, 23 out of every 100 Africans taken aboard Royal African Company ships died in transit; evidence before the Privy Council in 1789 showed that the average mortality of slaves on the Atlantic crossing was about 12 per cent, plus a further 4.5 per cent between arrival at the port of destination, and sale.
How profitable was the slave trade? This question is still debated by historians, although there were certainly many fortunes made by Monarchs, Politicians, Rich Men and the Church. Early European slave traders captured slaves; later most traded in guns, cloth and iron to buy slaves. Enslaved Africans resisted their enslavement, and the mortality rates in the “Middle Passage” were heavy. There were profits, certainly, but individual merchants could be bankrupted. Highly profitable, however, for European and American slave owners was the use of slave labour on plantations.
Sir William Beckford, 1709-1770, twice Lord Mayor, was the son of a wealthy Jamaican sugar planter and owned more than 22,000 acres in Jamaica. Beckford gave very luxurious banquets as Mayor, described as more elaborate than any since Henry VIII. One banquet alone was said to have cost Beckford £10,000.
Beckford’s popularity in the City was also due to his defence of the City of London’s liberties. He delivered a remonstrance drawn up by the Court of Common Council to King George III, asking him to dissolve Parliament and dismiss his ministers. Beckford also made a speech directly to the King asserting the loyalty of the citizens of London to the Crown and the Constitution. The text of this speech was put on Beckford’s statue in Guildhall (see Profit display case, exhibit 3). Most contemporaries did not see the discordance between Beckford’s immense wealth from slavery and his reputation as a defender of civic liberty, but his slave-owning was occasionally used against him (see Profit display case, exhibit 4).
William Beckford the younger, 1760-1844, was left £1 million in money and £100,000 a year on his father’s death. The younger Beckford is famous for his connoisseurship, his building of a Gothic folly (Fonthill Abbey) and his Gothic novel, Vathek. None of these would have been possible without his father’s money and the continuing revenues from his Jamaican estates, still run with slave labour (see Profit display case, exhibit 5).
Many other London merchants made money from the slave trade and from slave labour. Exhibit 2 in the Profit display case is the letter book for 1767 of Edward Grace and Co, who mainly traded in slaves and oil. Guildhall Library holds other records of this firm. Exhibit 6 is a balance sheet for sugar imported to London in 1837 from the Rosehall Estate, Jamaica, by Davison, Newman & Co. Jamaica was Britain’s most wealthy plantation colony.
In the later 17th and early 18th centuries, slavery and the slave trade were seen by most Londoners – and Britons – as a fact of life. There was no widespread condemnation, and probably little knowledge of the cruel practices or scale of the slave trade.
Lord Mansfield ruled in 1772 that a slave who deserted his master in Britain could not be taken by force to be sold abroad. This verdict led to the decline of slavery in Britain, and the creation of clandestine Black quarters, primarily in poor areas of London such as St Giles in the Fields. By 1800 there were between 15,000 and 20,000 black people living in London, mainly as free men and women, not as slaves or servants.
Early campaigners for the abolition of the slave trade were Evangelical Christians whose primary interest was in saving African souls. One important figure was John Newton, who had been the master of slave ships. He converted to evangelical Christianity in 1748, but continued as a slaver until 1754 when he gave up the sea. He was ordained as a minister in 1764 and became curate at Olney, Buckinghamshire. Gradually he realised the abhorrent nature of the slave trade, and in 1788 wrote his Thoughts on the African Slave Trade to persuade public opinion of its horrors. Because he had been a slaver, his words carried great weight (see Abolition display case, exhibits 1 and 2).
At Olney he became friends with the poet William Cowper, and together they wrote the “Olney Hymns”. Cowper was also an abolitionist, and wrote some effective anti-slavery poems, targeting the economic defence used by the pro-slavery lobby (see Abolition display case, exhibit 3).
Powerful arguments against slavery were made by some black people who had experienced slavery. In 1787 Ottobah Cugoano published an account of his experiences, Narrative of the Enslavement of a Native of America, and in 1789 Olaudah Equiano wrote The African: The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. Equiano worked with Thomas Clarkson and the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and spoke at many public meetings where he described first-hand the cruelties of the slave trade. As with Newton, Equiano’s personal experience convinced his audience of the truth and importance of his message (seeAbolition display case, exhibit 4).
Other prominent abolitionists were Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce. Clarkson, a member of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, organised committees, found evidence for the abolitionist cause, and gave advice and encouragement to hundreds of grass-roots activists. Wilberforce was persuaded by Clarkson and by Newton (who had known him as a child) to take up slavery as a cause. As a result of the Society’s work, over 100 petitions attacking the slave trade were presented to the House of Commons in three months of 1788. William Pitt introduced a parliamentary debate in that year about slavery, and evidence was given to the Privy Council by slave owners, slave traders and abolitionists.
Abolition was the first mass movement in British history, and in 1792 every county sent petitions to Parliament. Altogether 519 petitions were presented in that year, the largest number ever on a single subject or in a single session. Wilberforce used these petitions to exert pressure on Parliament to abolish the slave trade, and it almost worked: in 1792 the House of Commons resolved by 230 votes to 85 that the trade ought to be gradually abolished. However the very size of the numbers petitioning began to alarm Parliament. The violent struggles of the French Revolution were used by pro-slavery interests to suggest that the abolitionists were dangerous radicals (see Abolition display case, exhibit 5). In 1793 the Commons refused to revive the subject of the slave trade.
This fear of popular movements slowed the anti-slavery campaign, and not until 1807 did Parliament pass an Act abolishing Britain’s role in the slave trade. Slavery itself remained legal in British colonies until 1833, when a second Act was passed which gradually abolished slavery within the British Empire.
Of the 24 members of the court, Bathurst, Hedges, Ivat, Lucy, Morice (Morris) and Roberts were aldermen of the City of London; Dashwood, Moore, Turner and Wolfe were Lord Mayors.
2 Letter book of Edward Grace and Co, brokers and merchants of the City of London, trading mainly in slaves and oil in Gambia, Senegal and the West Indies. [GL Ms 12048/1]. The volume is open at a letter of 20 October 1767 to Day & Walsh, a firm in Antigua, about the transportation and sale of slaves.
3 Monument to William Beckford, 1771, by John Francis Moore in Guildhall, photograph by Bedford Lemere & Co., circa 1930. [GL Photo.A 281:8]. The monument includes the text of his speech to King George III on 23 May 1770 attacking the King’s ministers.
4 Sale, by William Beckford the younger, of the Harbour Head plantation in Jamaica, 1821. [GL Ms 633]. The deed includes the name, age and “colour” of the 125 slaves included in the sale and whether each slave is “creole” or “African”.
5 Satirical dialogue between the ghosts of King Charles II and William Beckford from an unnamed London newspaper, circa 1770. [GL Noble Collection C 78]. The imagined conversation shows that some contemporaries realised the contrast between Beckford’s slave-owning wealth and his defence of City liberties.
6 Balance sheet for sugar imported to London from the Rosehall Estate,
Jamaica, June 1837. [GL Ms 8614]. The profits made from imports in 1836 and 1837 from this single estate, £1817, 18 shillings, appear as “Balance due to the Proprietors this day”.
Display case 2 (Abolition)
1 John Newton’s Thoughts on the African Slave Trade, 1788, reprinted 1962 [Guildhall Library B:N564].
Originally printed in 1788 when Parliament was debating the slave trade, Newton drew on his experience as a slave-trader as well as his religious convictions to depict the horrors of the slave trade.
2 John Pollock’s biography of John Newton, Amazing Grace, the dramatic life-story of John Newton, 1981 [GL B:N564]. Newton is known as an evangelical Christian and abolitionist but is also famous as the author of the hymns “Amazing Grace” and “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds” along with 280 other “Olney hymns”.
3 Olaudah Equiano,The African: the interesting narrative of Olaudah Equiano, 1789, reprinted 1998 [Camomile Street Library 326EQU]. Equiano’s autobiography was a bestseller in Britain, Germany, America and Holland. Well written and persuasive, it has been called “the most important simple literary contribution to the campaign for abolition”.
4 A Very new pamphlet indeed! [GL Pam 9237]. An anonymous pamphlet of 1792 which plays on British fears of the popular uprisings in France to link slave trade abolitionists with French Jacobins.
5 William Cowper, Pity for Poor Africans, written 1788, published 1800. Cowper, a poet and close friend of Newton, sent up the economic arguments used against abolition.
Strong, Somerset and Sharp – liberating black slaves in England
Black presence in London
By 1800 it has been estimated that there were between 15,000 and 20,000 black people living in London, mainly as free men and women, not as slaves or servants. It is very difficult to find references to these Londoners as most primary sources do not record race or colour of skin when a person is named.
In January this year we asked our readers to tell us about any entries they found which did indicate racial origins or skin colour, so that we could build up a picture of Black and Asian Londoners in and around the City. So far this project has found 207 entries in our records, all but two in parish registers, mostly baptisms of adults.
Why so many adult baptisms?
In 18th century Britain and in the colonies, it was popularly believed that baptism made African slaves free. Some early legal judgments on slavery referred to slaves as “heathens” as a justification of the slave trade, and passages from the Bible were used to suggest that becoming a Christian conferred freedom.
As a result, many plantation owners refused to allow their slaves baptism and several American colonies passed laws which explicitly outlawed freedom by baptism. However there was no British legal opinion until 1729, when the Attorney General and the Solicitor General ruled that “baptism doth not bestow freedom” (the Yorke-Talbot ruling). Nonetheless a popular belief persisted that coming to Britain and being baptised released you from slavery though not service – so that you could not be bought and sold. Many slaves brought to Britain by their masters did seek baptism, finding a sympathetic clergyman and English godparents. Many such baptisms are recorded in our parish registers. Some entries from the parish of St Sepulchre Holborn
St Botolph Bishopsgate:25 September 1586, baptism of ‘Elizabeth, a negro child, born white, the mother a negro’ (GL Ms 4515/1)
St Botolph Aldgate:22 October 1586, burial of ‘Christopher Cappervert, a blacke moore’ (GL Ms 9222/1). There is no surviving parish clerk’s memorandum book for October 1586, but the paper burial register (GL Ms 9221) adds a little more detail:
[Under “October 1586”:] ‘Cristopher Cappeverte a blackmoore who dyed in the whitbell of the high street was buryed the 22 of October.’ In the margin is written ‘Upper [end of the parish]. Christopher caperverto. Yers [of age] 28.’
St Ann Blackfriars:8 January 1587/8, burial of ‘Domyngo, a blackmore’ (GL Ms 4510/1)
St Andrew Holborn:30 January 1589/90, burial of ‘Sebrina, a blackmore wench’ (GL Ms 6673/1)
St Olave Hart Street:13 July 1590, burial of ‘Grace, a nigro, oute of Dr Hector’s’ (GL Ms 28867)
St Olave Hart Street:5 Sept 1590, burial of ‘Francisco, a nigro’ (GL Ms 28867)
St Botolph Aldgate:8 August 1593, burial of ‘Suzanna Peiris, a blackamoore servant to John Despinois’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
St Botolph Aldgate:20 August 1593, burial of ‘Symon Valencia, a Blackamoore’ (GL Ms 9222/1). There is no surviving parish clerk’s memorandum book for August 1593, but the paper burial register (GL Ms 9221) adds a little more detail:
[Under “August 1593”:] ‘Upper [end of the parish]. Yeres [of age] 20. Plagg. Symon Valencia, a black moore servaunt to Stephen Drifyeld a nedellmaker was buryed the 20 daye.’
St Botolph Aldgate:8 October 1593, burial of ‘Cassangoe, a blacke a moore servant to Mr Barbor’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
St Botolph Aldgate:29November 1593, burial of ‘Roberte, a blackamoor servant to William Mathew’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
In the parish clerk’s memorandum book the following has been added:
‘Robert a negar being servant to William Mathew a Jentleman dwelling in a garden being behynd Mr Quarles his house and neare unto Hogg land in the libertie of East Smithfield was buried in the owter church yeard being without the crosse walle before...’ [date follows] concluding ‘he had the second clothe and fower bearers’ [In the margin the word ‘plage’ is marked]. (GL Ms 9234/4)
St Stephen Coleman Street:24 August 1594, burial of ‘Katherin the negar, dwelling with the prince of Portingal [sic for Portugal]’ (GL Ms 4448)
St Mary Woolchurch Haw: between entries for 24 April and 20 May 1597, there is an undated burial of ‘a blakmore belonging to Mr John Davies, died in White Chappel parishe, was laied in the ground in this church yarde sine frequentia populi et sine ceremoniis quia utrum christianus esset necne nesciebamus [without any company of people and without ceremony, because we did not know whether he was a Christian or not]’ (GL Ms 7644) [see also the entry for 1 Jan 1610/11 for St Mildred Poultry, where possibly the same John Davies appears again]
St Botolph Aldgate: 3 June 1597, baptism of ‘Marye Phillis, a blackmore, beinge aboute twentye yeres of age and dwellinge with Millicen [sic, for ‘Millicent’] Porter sempster’ (GL Ms 9220)
St Mary Bothaw:29 March 1601, baptism of ‘Julyane, a blackamore, servant with Alldermane Banynge, of the age of 22 yeares, was baptized and namyd Marye’ (GL Ms 4310)
The reference would appear to be to Alderman Paul Bayning, Sheriff 1593-4, and Treasurer of the East India Company, 1600-2.
St Benet Fink: 2 June 1606, baptism of ‘a man child called John, borne of a blackamore woman & supposed to be the sonne of John Edwardes, a bordder in the howse of William Conrado’s’ (GL Ms 4097)
St Mildred Poultry:1 January 1610/11, baptism of ‘John Jaquoah, a king’s sonne in Guinnye’ (GL Ms 4429/1)
NB beside the entry in the register the rector has added the following text:
‘Dederi Jaquoah about the age of 20 yeares, the sonne of Caddi-biah king of the river of Cetras or Cestus in the cuntrey of Guinny, who was sent out of his cuntrey by his father, in an english shipp called the Abigail of London, belonging to Mr John Davies of this parish, to be baptised. At the request of the said Mr Davies and at the desire of the said Dedery, and by allowance of authority, [he] was by the Parson of this churche the first of Januarie, baptised and named John. His sureties were John Davies haberdasher, Isaac Kilburne mercer, Robert Singleton churchwarden, EdmundTowers, Paul Gurgeny and Rebecca Hutchens. He showed his opinion concerning Jesus Christ and his faith in him; he repeated the Lords prayer in English at the fonte, and so was baptised and signed with the signe of the Crosse.’
[See also the entry for April/May 1597 at St Mary Woolchurch Haw, where possibly the same John Davies appears again.]
St Dunstan in the West:2 August 1616, burial of ‘Peter, a blackamore … from Mrs Locksmithe’s’ (GL Ms 10342)
St Dionis Backchurch:22 December 1616, baptism of ‘an East Indian, was christened by the name of Peter’ (GL Ms 17602)
St Olave Hart Lane:25 January 1616/7, burial of ‘Mark Antonie, a negro Christian’ (GL Ms 28867)
Holy Trinity the Less:24 December 1617, marriage of ‘James Curres, beinge a Moore Christian and Margaret Person, a maid’ (GL Ms 9155)
St Botolph Aldgate:27 April 1618, burial of ‘Anne Vause, a black-more, wife to Anthonie Vause, Trompetter, of the said countrey’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
Many of the entries in the records of this parish refer to musicians employed by the Crown at the Tower, and this may be another.
St Botolph Aldgate:8 Sept 1618, burial of ‘James (an Indian), servant to Mr James Duppa, beerebrewer’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
St Katherine by the Tower:20 August 1623, baptism of ‘Phillip, an Indian blackmore, borne in the East Indies at Zarat’ (GL Ms 9659/2)
St Botolph Aldgate:4 November 1623, burial of ‘a blackamoore woman that died in the street, named Marie’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
St Botolph Aldgate:26 November 1623, burial of ‘John Come Quicke, a blacke-moore so named, servant to Thomas Love, a Captaine’ (GL Ms 9222/1)
St Andrew Holborn:17 April 1633, burial of ‘Thomas a[n] Indian, out of the Lord Brooke’s house, was layed in the Church as Catumelant’ (GL Ms 6673/2)
“Catumelant” in the entry above appears to signify that the individual was a catechumen, a Christian convert under instruction prior to baptism.
St Giles Cripplegate: 3 February 1659, burial of ‘Yahma a blackmore servant to John Smith, gent[leman] at Bunnhill, below [place buried], flox [cause of death; confluent smallpox]’ (GL Ms 6419/6)
Entry supplied by Henry Meier
St Benet Fink:20 November 1662, burial of ‘Emanuell Feinande, Mr Adams’ friend’s slave, a blackmore’ (GL Ms 4098)
St Botolph Aldersgate:12 May 1672, baptism of ‘Joseph, a blackamore about 20 years of age’ (GL Ms 3854/1)
St Dunstan in the West: entry in churchwardens’ accounts of 31st July 1672 “given to Widdow Boden a poore darke woeman (one shilling)” (GL Ms 2968/5)
St Katherine Cree:26 September 1672, marriage of ‘Paul Peache, a blackemore and Rosamond Key (by licence)’ (GL Ms 7890/1)
St Olave Hart Street:29 April 1675, baptism of ‘George an India(n) servant of Mr Robert Andrews, chirurgeon, aged 16 yeares or thereabouts, christened in the publique congregacon’ (GL Ms 28868)
Christchurch Newgate Street: 22 January 1675/6, baptism of ‘Thomas Dingley and Hannah Boton, blackmore’ (GL Ms 3713/1)
All Hallows Barking: 24 February 1681/2, burial of ‘Trumbelo, an Indian black, Catechumus’ (GL Ms 3713/2A)
St Olave Hart Street:14 June 1681, burial of ‘Loreta, an India woaman, buryed in the near [new?] churchyard in Seething Lane’ (GL Ms 28869)
St Olave Hart Street:25 December 1682, baptism of ‘Edward Angell, a black boye belonging to Madam Hampton’ (GL Ms 28868)
St Olave Hart Street:14 February 1682/3, burial of ‘An Indian slave boy of Mr Charles Gray was buryed in church yard’ (GL Ms 28869)
St Peter Cornhill:7 November 1683, baptism of ‘John Cooke, a blackamore’ (GL Ms 8820)
St Olave Hart Street:24 January 1683/4, ‘Marea, a female neager from Mr Pewseye’s was buryed in the new church’ (GL Ms 28869)
St Mary Woolchurch Haw:7 March 1683/4, baptism of ‘Marck Anthony an Indian, by Frank Sclater. Witnesses – Mr Thomas Rannd, Mr James Watkins, Ms Elizabeth Howard’ (GL Ms 7644)
St Ethelburga Bishopsgate:21 September 1687 a baptism of ‘Thomas Gaeham, Mr Norman’s negro boy’ (GL Ms 4236/1)
St Katherine Cree:15 June 1687, baptism of ‘Charles, a negro of Sir Benjamin Batters’ (GL Ms 3713/2B)
St Stephen Coleman Street:24 July 1687, baptism of ‘James Dockey, a Guiney negar boy aged 17 years, Mr Lavington’s servant’ (GL Ms 4449/2)
St Mary Aldermary:25 July 1687, baptism of ‘Ann Obbadya, the black’ (GL Ms 8990/2)
St Peter Cornhill: 24 June 1688, baptism of ‘Ann, a black, aged about 20 years’ (GL Ms 8820)
All Hallows Barking: 25 January 1688/9, baptism of ‘Mary Alphabet, an Indian black aged about 16, servant to Mrs Richardson of this parish’ (GL Ms 3713/2A)
Holy Trinity Minories:23October 1690, baptism of ‘Anthony Goodwill a Moor formerly called by the same name. Daniel Ashford and Mary Langridge his sureties.’ (GL Ms 9238)
St Edmund Lombard Street: 9 November 1690, baptism of ‘Joan Hill, a black of about 30 years, servant to Lt. General Hill, of the Cariby Islands’ (GL Ms 20204)
St Dunstan in the West:14 April 1691, baptism of ‘William a black young man, 18 years of age, baptized at the funt’ (GL Ms 10348)
St Katherine Cree:6 December 1691, baptism of ‘Daniel Mingoe, an Indian boy, servant to the Lady Ann Godwin, baptized at the font’ (GL Ms 7889/1)
St Peter Cornhill:6 April 1692, baptism of ‘Joseph Isintree, a black aged 17 years’ (GL Ms 8820)
St Mary Woolnoth:11 September 1692, burial of ‘Ann, a blackmoor servant to Mr Pollington, interred in Bethlem churchyard’ (GL Ms 7636)
St Ethelburga Bishopsgate:19 May 1695, baptism of ‘Francis Brewer, laite servant to Mr Thomas Rutter, a black or Indian’ (GL Ms 4236/1)
St Peter Cornhill: 1 January 1694/5, baptism of ‘Cyrus-Peters Collico, servant to Lancelot Skinner, cheese-monger, aged about 17 years, a black’ (GL Ms 8820)
St Dunstan in the East:22 October 1696, burial of ‘Pompey, a black boy’ (GL Ms 7857/3)
All Hallows Barking:26 December 1696, baptism of ‘Stephen Goddard, Sir Benjamin Newland’s negro, about 32 years old’ (GL Ms 3713/2A)
St Augustine Watling Street:20 May 1697, baptism of ‘Sarah Bamoo, a black Indian about 20 years of age’ (GL Ms 8872/2)
St Botolph Aldgate:29May 1697, burial of ‘Juniper, a black boy in Red Lyon Road by the Nag’s Head, Houndsditch’ (GL Ms 9226)
St Mildred Poultry:23 September 1697, burial of ‘Valentine, a blackmore, in Bethlehem’ (GL Ms 4429/1)
St Peter Cornhill:26 November 1698, baptism of ‘John Philips, a blackmoor, aged 15 years’ (GL Ms 8820)
St Mary Le Bow:18 March 1698/9, baptism of ‘Benjamin Popler, a blackamoor aged about 18, servant to Capt. Leonard Brown, of Popler’ (GL Ms 4998)
St Andrew Undershaft: 25 December 1700, burial of ‘Occulaa Hereford, a negroe’ (GL Ms 4107/3)
St Peter Cornhill:11 January 1700/1, baptism of ‘Thomas Stephens a negro aged about 22 years’ (GL Ms 8820)
St Benet Paul’s Wharf:29 January 1700/1, burial of ‘Richard Nego, a black’ (GL Ms 5716)
St Mary Le Bow: 1 November 1702, baptism of ‘John Matara, a negro man of about 25 years of age, servant to Major Lillington of Barbadoes’ (GL Ms 4998)
St Mary Le Bow:9 August 1704, baptism of ‘Richard Carleton aged [age omitted] a negro man servant to Coll. Hobby, called before Cuffay’ (GL Ms 4998)
St Mary Le Bow:8 April 1708, baptism of ‘Susanna Rose, servant to Mr John Rose of Jamaica, a negro woman’ (GL Ms 4998)
St Sepulchre Holborn:30 April 1708, baptism of ‘a black boy, a foundling by order of the churchwarden, Mr Hunt’ (GL Ms 7219/3)
St Matthew Friday Street: 25 November 1709, baptism of ‘Thomas Harry, servant to Mr James Simmonds, a reformade in the St George Man o war, deceased in the parish of St Peters of the Poor, Broad-Street, a black of Guinea aged about 14 years’ (GL Ms 3713/1) and (HS 63)
St Botolph Bishopsgate:28 May 1712, baptism of ‘George Thomas, a black about the age of 20 years’ (GL Ms 4516/2)
St Botolph Bishopsgate:28 May 1712, baptism of ‘Charles Niccolo, a black about the age of 8 years’ (GL Ms 4516/2)
St Dunstan in the West:27 January 1714/5, baptism of ‘Titus Vespatian, aged 15, born in the East Indies, a servant to Mr Thomas Robinson baptised this day at the font’ (GL Ms 10349)
St Andrew Undershaft:26 August 1714, baptism of ‘Margaret Gay, an adult person, a negro and servant to Mrs Mendos, a Jew’ (GL Ms 4107/3)
St Mary Lothbury: 28th April 1719, ‘Lucinder Haseller, a black infant was buried in the churchyard’ (GL Ms 4346/1)
St Botolph Aldersgate: 21 July 1719, burial of ‘Isbrick, a black-a-moor (also other negroes)’ (GL Ms 3854/5)
All Hallows Lombard Street:12 February 1721/2, baptism of ‘Thomas James Campbell, an Indian youth’ (GL Ms 17614)
St Benet Gracechurch:19 December 1722, baptism of ‘Mary Augthewood, a milotta [mulatto] aged about 23 years’ (GL Ms 5671)
All Hallows Lombard Street:25 November 1725, burial of ‘William Lewis, a black, north church-yard (poor)’ (GL Ms 17615)
St Botolph Aldersgate:26 December 1726, burial of ‘a black man found in Red Lyon Yard’ (GL Ms 3854/5)
St Benet Paul’s Wharf:19 March 1726/7, burial of George Beezo, a black, in the churchyard’ (GL Ms 5716)
St Giles Cripplegate:30 October 1727, baptism of ‘John Weymouth, a black man, born [column left empty]’ (GL Ms 6419/16)
St Dunstan in the West:19 March 1729/30, baptism of ‘Charles Sadler, a tawney moor, about 22 years’ (GL Ms 10349)
Allhallows London Wall: entry in vestry minutes of26 August 1729 “order’d that Joseph Steele the blackamore be put on the pention table at eighteen pence a week” (GL Ms 5342/1) Entry supplied by Roger Smith
St Katherine by the Tower: 28 August 1731, baptism of ‘Samuel Williams, a black aged 28 years’ (GL Ms 9660)
St Botolph Aldgate:20 November 1732, burial of ‘a black man whose name could not be had, Eastsmithfield.’ (GL Ms 9232/2) Entry supplied by Alison Diskin
St Katherine by the Tower: 15 December 1736, baptism of ‘James Caesar a black servant to Capt. Nayler, aged 19’ (GL Ms 9660)
St Katherine Coleman: 18 April 1740, burial of ‘Jacob, Mr Currie’s negro boy’ (GL Ms 17833) described as ‘Jacob, Mr Currie’s negro slave’ in GL Ms 17837A
St Sepulchre Holborn:27th August 1742, baptism of ‘James Ambrose, a negro man born in Kings TownJamaica’ (GL Ms 7220/1) Entry supplied by Barbara McDeson
St Edmund Leonard Street: 8 February 1743/4, baptism of ‘John Nicholas, a negro servant living with Capt. Blackmore (Spence) a lodger with Mrs Hutton in St Nicholas churchyard’ (GL Ms 20204) [Spence is written above Blackmore, which is underlined]
St Botolph Aldersgate:15 December 1744, baptism of ‘Lewis Lewis, a black about 13 years old’ (GL Ms 9225/3)
St Gabriel Fenchurch: 23 December 1746, burial of ‘a negro woman belonging to James Douglas Esquire’ (GL Ms 5294)
St Sepulchre Holborn: 12th October 1749, baptism of ‘Phillip Bailey, a negro 31 years old born in Africa’ (GL Ms 7220/1) Entry supplied by Barbara McDeson
St Andrew Undershaft:22 February 1752/3, baptism of ‘Lear, a black woman, baptized by the name of Elizabeth’ (GL Ms 4107/3)
St Botolph Bishopsgate:6 February 1753, baptism of ‘James Cato, a negro, aged 16 years’ (GL Ms 4517/2)
St Katherine Cree: 31 December 1756, baptism of ‘Penitents, a black of Capt. Holland’s, aged 12 years’ (GL 7889/3)
St Botolph Bishopsgate:6 August 1759, burial of ‘London, a negro, aged 16’ (GL Ms 4517/2)
St Botolph Bishopsgate:8 December 1760, baptism of ‘George Johnson Levant, a negro thirty years of age when baptised’ (GL Ms 4517/2)
St Dunstan in the West: 1 March 1762, baptism of ‘Charlotte Devon, a native of the Phillipine Islands, about 15 years of age; baptized at Mr Sergeant Davy’s in Bell Yard’ (GL Ms 10351)
St Botolph Bishopsgate: 26 September 1763, ‘Ann Thomas a negro 28 years of age was baptised’ (GL Ms 4517/2)
St Andrew Holborn: 24th January 1764 baptism of ‘William Fletcher, an adult black about 25 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/11). Entry supplied by Valerie Palmer
St Botolph Bishopsgate:11 July 1766, baptism of ‘Joseph Robinson, a negro 25 years of age when baptized’ (GL Ms 4517/2)
St Andrew Holborn: 11 January 1766, baptism of ‘Charles Eastcheap, a native of Bengal about 15 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Andrew Holborn: 14 February 1766, baptism of ‘Edward Peaser, an adult black about 26 years of age from James Street (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Andrew Holborn:23 April 1766, baptism of ‘Charles Juba, a black child about 6 years of age from Mr Crutendens, John’s Street (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Dunstan in the West: 11 July 1766, baptism of ‘John Strong, a black aged eighteen years from Shire Lane’ (GL Ms 10351). Entry supplied by Valerie Palmer
St Andrew Holborn:13 October 1766, baptism of ‘John Rutter, an adult black from Cross Street about 13 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Andrew Holborn: 7 November 1766, baptism of ‘Sarah Cottle, an adult black about 22 years of age, a native of the island of St Christophers’ (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Andrew Holborn:12 December 1766, baptism of ‘John Constant, an adult black supposed to be about 35 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Andrew Holborn:20 July 1767, baptism of ‘John Waugh, a native of Bengal about 19 years of age from Grays Inn Lane’ (GL Ms 6667/11)
St Botolph Aldersgate: 3 May 1769, baptism of ‘Isaac London, NB A black aged 19 years’ (GL Ms 3855)
St Katherine by the Tower:28June 1770, baptism of ‘Elizabeth Baldwell, a black supposed forty years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Mary Le Bow:14 October 1770, baptism of ‘John Wilkes, son of Mungby a native of the East Indies’ (GL Ms 4998)
St Andrew Holborn:12 Feb 1771, baptism of ‘James Summersett, an adult negro about 30 years of age, of BaldwinsGardens’ (GL Ms 6667/12)
[NB this would appear to be James Somerset, the slave at the centre of the ‘Mansfield Ruling’ of 1772. Somerset, the property of a Boston customs official in North America, was brought to England. After two years he escaped, but was recaptured on 26 November 1771 and forced onto a ship bound for Jamaica. With help from Granville Sharpe, an anti-slavery campaigner, a writ of habeas corpus was granted by Lord Mansfield, the Lord Chief Justice, ordering the captain of the ship to produce Somerset before a court. After many delays, Mansfield ruled in 1772 that ‘no master ever was allowed here [England] to take a slave by force to be sold abroad because he deserted from his service … therefore the man must be discharged.’ So Somersett won his freedom.]
St Benet Paul’s Wharf: 19 February 1771, baptism of ‘Joseph Thomas Newman, a black, was baptized in this church after an affidavit being made previously, before Justice Girdler, that he was no person’s property, but to all intents and purposes sui juris’ (GL Ms 5717/1)
St Katherine by the Tower: 3 June 1771, baptism of ‘John Daniel Dunbar, a black supposed to 20 years’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower:5th June 1771, baptism of ‘William Warrington, a black supposed to be 22 years’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Matthew Friday Street: 27 October 1771, baptism of ‘Lawrence, a native of the East Indies by the name of John Lawrence, being his surname and he 22 years of age’ (GL Ms 3713/1) (HS 63)
St Helen Bishopsgate: 27October 1771, baptism of ‘John Groggs, a black’ (GL Ms 6831/3)
St Sepulchre Holborn:8 November 1771, burial of ‘a black woman in chick Fleet market, about 31 years old’ (GL Ms 7223/2)
St Helen Bishopsgate:6 December 1771 baptism of ‘George Bacon, a negro & adult’ (GL Ms 6831/3)
St Bartholomew the Great:10 January 1772, baptism of ‘Henry Hill, an East Indian boy about 12 years of age’ (GL Ms 6778/2)
St Katherine by the Tower: 19 March 1772, baptism of ‘James Chancellor, a black 18 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower: 1July 1772, baptism of ‘Henry Jones, a black, 22 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower:5August 1772, baptism of ‘Joseph Dear, a black twenty two years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower:30th October 1772 baptism of ‘John Thomas a black twenty six years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Botolph Aldgate:12 November 1772, burial of ‘a black youth belonging to Captain Young’ (GL Ms 9232/3)
St Katherine by the Tower:13 September 1773, baptism of ‘William, a black, age unknown’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Andrew Undershaft:31 October 1773, baptism of ‘Susanna, a negro servant of Mr Spence’ (GL Ms 4108)
St Katherine by the Tower:9February 1774, baptism of ‘Richard Pitts, a black twenty one years’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Gabriel Fenchurch:28 March 1774, baptism of ‘Samuel George, from Calcutta in the East Indies, supposed to be about 14 years old’ (GL Ms 5294)
St Katherine by the Tower:24 May 1775, baptism of ‘John Rowland, a black 17 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower:23 June 1775, baptism of ‘John Sofe (?) a black supposed 23 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Mary at Hill: 27 December 1774, baptism of ‘Anthony Monday, an East Indian black from Cochin China, about 10 years old, belonging to Mr Moor on St Mary Hill’ (GL Ms 4546)
St Andrew Undershaft:1 February 1775, baptism of ‘a negro servant of Mr Coggan’ (GL Ms 4108)
St Andrew Undershaft:13 December 1777, baptism of ‘William Wells, a negro’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Lawrence Jewry: 5 November 1780, baptism of ‘Joseph Scott, a black, supposed to be 15 years of age’ (GL Ms 6976) Entry supplied by Suzanne Davis
St Andrew Undershaft:3 August 1781, baptism of ‘James Fierce (?) and Robert Cooper, two adult negroes’ (GL Ms 4108)
All Hallows Bread Street: 6 January 1782, baptism of ‘William Thomas, an adult negro aged 20 years’ (GL Ms 5033)
St Andrew Undershaft:19 April 1782, baptism of ‘Thomas Burge, a negro’ (GL Ms 4108)
St Sepulchre Holborn: 26 August 1782, two baptisms, of ‘William Tritton, a black, aged 23, born in Barbadoes, and Joseph Sutton, a black, born in South Carolina, aged 21’ (GL Ms 3713/2B)
St Andrew Undershaft:20 February 1783, baptism of ‘Charles Darvhill, an adult negro’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Andrew Undershaft: 26 July 1783, baptism of ‘George Richardson, a negro’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Katherine by the Tower: 10th October 1783, baptism of ‘John Nicholas, a black man supposed about 24 years old’ and ‘William Butcher, a black man supposed about 40 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Katherine by the Tower: baptism of ‘Ann Katherine Lawns a black woman supposed 49 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Sepulchre Holborn:1 August 1784, baptism of ‘Peter Peach, a Negro, born at St Christopher, about 23 years old’ (GL Ms 7221/1)
St Benet Paul’s Wharf: 21 November 1784, baptism of ‘John Brown, a negro born in the island of Jamaica in the West Indies sometime in the year 1769 and servant to Captain William Perry, now resident in this parish and baptized in this church by the above name by the Reverend Edmund Gibson, rector of this parish…The sponsors were Henry Andrew, Thomas Stretton, and Elizabeth Andrews in the presence of Charles Horne, parish clerk.’ [The entry is marked ‘poor’] (GL Ms 5717/1)
St Gregory by St Paul: 29 September 1784, baptism of ‘William Cuffy and Anthony Greaves, two negro boys brought to England by Capt. Samuel Greaves’ (GL Ms 18935)
St Sepulchre Holborn:26 November 1784, baptism of ‘Mary de Cruz, born in Bencooling in the East Indies, about 31 years old’ (GL Ms 7221/1)
St Andrew Undershaft: 19 December 1787, baptism of ‘Henry Butcher, a negro aged 51 years’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Benet Gracechurch: 25 March 1788, baptism of ‘John Yarrow, a negro adult from Sierra Leona, aged 16 years’ (GL Ms 17609)
St Katherine by the Tower:26 November 1788, baptism of ‘Simon McKormick a black supposed about 24 years old’ (GL Ms 9688)
St Katherine by the Tower:25 January 1789, baptism of ‘Elizabeth Shervington, a black supposed to be 28 years old’ (GL Ms 9688)
St Botolph Aldgate: December 1791, burial of ‘a black man’ (GL Ms 9232/3)
St Benet Paul’s Wharf: 13 September 1792, baptism of ‘Thomas Ford (a negro) born in Africa sometime in the year 1771 and servant to Dr George Harris, new resident in this parish was baptized in the church by the above name by the Rev William Lucas. Witnesses – James Godfrey, John Headford, Elizabeth Allisons’ [The entry is marked ‘poor’] (GL Ms 5717/1)
St Botolph Aldgate: January 1793, burial of ‘Thomas a negro’ (GL Ms 9232/3)
St Andrew Undershaft:25 September 1793, baptism of ‘Peter London, a negro aged 18 years’ (GL Ms 4108)
St Andrew Undershaft: 4 November 1794, baptism of ‘Samuel Arthur, a negro aged 19, native of Jamaica’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Botolph Aldgate:19th September 1795, baptism of ‘Eliza Dunbar. a black woman aged about 25 years born in the parish of Trelawney in the island of Jamaica, at Mr Daws, no. 2(?)1 Little Tower Hill’ (GL Ms 9225/4) Entry supplied by Hannah Cunliffe
St Botolph Aldgate: 19th September 1795, baptism of ‘James Brown a boy aged about 6 years ditto [at same address as entry above]’ (GL Ms 9225/4)
St Botolph Aldgate: 19th September 1795, baptism of ‘Robert Johnston a boy aged about 6 years in the parish of St Anns in the island of Jamaica, at Mr Daws’ (GL Ms 9225/4)
St Botolph Aldgate:13th March 1796, baptism of ‘George Julius, a black man aged about 22 years, Minories, Tower Hill’ (GL Ms 9225/4) Entry supplied by Hannah Cunliffe
St Bride Fleet Street:30 March 1796, baptism of ‘Mary Daussy Lucas, a native of Madras, supposed to be aged aout 15 years from Mr Hill’s St Bride workhouse’ (GL Ms 6541/1) Entry supplied by Carol Brown.
St Andrew Undershaft: 29 April 1798, baptism of ‘Thomas Andrews, a black man aged 40 years’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Mary Woolnoth & St Mary Woolchurch Haw:6 April 1799, burial of ‘a black man name unknown … in the Churchyard [parish:] Woolchurch. A casual [burial].’ (GL Ms 7639)
St Bride Fleet Street: 24 December 1799, baptism of ‘Joseph Read a native of Africa about twenty years old servant to David Dick Esq. residing at Mr Valey’s Hotel, Bridge St., Blackfriars.’ (GL Ms 6541/1) Entry Supplied by Carol Brown.
St Martin Outwich:21 May 1799, baptism of ‘John Love, a black adult 23 years old, servant to G. Booth Barrett, Esq.’ (GL Ms 6838/1)
St Mary at Hill: 28 February 1800, baptism of ‘William, a mulatto boy aged about 9 years, servant to Captain Appleby, his African name was William van Proyar. Sponsors – William Lunn, Arthur Appleby, Charlotte Taylor’ (GL Ms 4546)
St Andrew Holborn:29th June 1800, baptism of ‘James Shaw Pitman, a native of Barbadoes about 29 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/14) Entry supplied by Sara Mason
St Mary at Hill:10 October 1800, baptism of ‘John, a black servant to John Roebuck Esq., supposed to be about 32 years of age. NB. His African name was Mentor. Sponsors – John Bates, John Wheeler, Jane Blair’ (GL Ms 4546)
St Martin Outwich:26 October 1800, baptism of ‘John Whynante, a black servant of Berbice about 20 years of age’ (GL Ms 6838/1)
St Martin Outwich: 30 November 1800, baptism of ‘Flora Jones, a native of the East Indies, about 18 years of age, living with John Jones Esq. of the Bengal warehouse, East India House’ (GL Ms 6838/1)
St Katherine by the Tower: 10 June 1801, baptism of ‘Joseph Kid, a black man, supposed about 23 years old a native of New York in North America (GL Ms 9668) Entry supplied by Sharon Aylward
St Katherine by the Tower: 24 March 1802, baptism of ‘Mingo Hunt, a black man 23 years old born in New Providence, one of the Bahama Isles’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Mary Aldermary:18 July 1802, baptism of ‘James Freeman, born AD 1776 in the Island of Tobago in the West Indies, an adult’ (GL Ms 8991)
St Katherine by the Tower:8 August 1802, baptism of ‘Richard John Firebrass Perry a black man supposed 36 years of age’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Bride Fleet Street: 18th May 1803, baptism of ‘a negro girl from Demerara [sic] about 16 years of age residing no.1 Dove Court, New Street Hill (GL Ms 6541/1)’. Entry supplied by Carol Brown.
St Mary Le Bow:12 August 1803, baptism of ‘Marksim Laffayey, aged 23, a native of the island of Dominica’ (GL Ms 5000)
St Bride Fleet Street: 17th February 1804, baptism of ‘Thomas Lucas, an adult negro from Martinique, Whitefriars supposed to be aged 28 years.’ (GL Ms 6541/1) Entry supplied by Carol Brown.
St Andrew Undershaft:8 November 1804, baptism of ‘Samuel Barrow Burgess, a Creole, born at Barbadoes in the parish of St Michael’ (GL Ms 4108)
St Katherine by the Tower: 6th May 1805 baptism of ‘Thomas Smith, a black man aged 43 years, born near the River Junk on the coast of Africa’ (GL Ms 9668) Entry supplied by S. Aylward
St Katherine by the Tower: baptism of ‘John Congoe, a black man supposed to be about 38 years old’ (GL Ms 9668)
St Andrew Undershaft:27 December 1807, baptism of ‘William Walpole, a black man christened’ (GL Ms 4108). Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
There are baptisms of the children of a Samuel & Susannah Walpole in this volume – so perhaps William is their servant?
St Katherine by the Tower: 30 March 1808, baptism of ‘Thomas Fortune, aged 22, a native of the coast of Guinea, servant to Henry Rosewyk, merchant of Surinam (GL Ms 9668)
St Andrew Undershaft:22 January 1809, baptism of ‘Edward Thomas Graham, a black man’ (GL Ms 4108) Entry supplied by Allan Mornement
St Bartholomew the Less: 1 April 1810, baptism of William Mitchell ‘a native of “Demera”, West Indies, aged 14, being at that time a patient in the hospital of St Bartholomew’ (M. Spearman ,Transcript of General Register, fiches 75)
St Andrew Holborn:17 November 1810, baptism of ‘John Anderson, native of the island of Celylon, about 25 years of age’ (GL Ms 6667/15) Entry supplied by Graham Pratten.
St Mary Aldermary: 11 March 1811, baptism of ‘Abba Ledgerton, a female adult born February 1791 on the estate of Stephen Soame Esq. in the Island of Tobago. Sponsors – Mrs Soame, Miss Charlotte Frith, Mr Joseph Frith’ (GL Ms 8991)
St Bartholomew the Less:27 November 1815, baptism of ‘Thomas Wilson, son of Thomas Wilson & Lucy; an adult of Baltimore, North America, an African negro, formerly in slavery, but now free.’ (M. Spearman, Transcript of General Register, fiches 75)
St Bartholomew the Less:2 January 1816, baptism of ‘Alexander Marmesty Marmaty an adult of Africa; an African negro formerly in slavery, but now a patient in Pithcairnes Ward’ (M. Spearman, Transcript of General Register, fiches 75)
St Andrews Undershaft: 26 September 1829, burial of ‘George Reynolds, a stranger from the East India Service, a native of St Helena, Hercules, Leadenhall Street’ (GL Ms 4112) Entry supplied by David E Rencher
St Dunstan in the East:4th April 1830 burial of Sarah, a black girl from Tower Street, aged 16, in North Yard. (GL Ms 7860/2) Entry supplied by David E. Rencher
St Bartholomew the Less: 8 October 1896, marriage of ‘Benjamin William Quartey-Papatio, 33, bachelor, physician, of St Bartholomew’s Hospital, son of William Quartey-Papatio, African Chief & Elizabeth Sabina Meyer, 19, spinster, of Ockham, Surrey, daughter of Richard Meyer, merchant (M. Spearman, Transcripts of General Register, fiches 75)
Outside the City, and further afield:-
St Leonard Shoreditch:22 July 1765, baptism of ‘Jonathan Strong, a blackmoor, about 18 years of age’ (GL Ms 7496/7)
Jonathan Strong was found by Granville Sharp on a visit to his brother William Sharp’s surgery in 1765. Strong had been brought to London from Barbados as a slave by a lawyer and planter called David Lisle, who had apparently beaten him. William arranged for Strong to go to St Bartholomew’s where he was treated for four months due to the extent of his injuries. After his discharge the brothers paid for his food and lodging until they found him a job. However, his former master sold him 2 years later to a planter called James Kerr, and Strong was lured by professional slave hunters to a ship for transport. Jonathan, who along with many other slaves believed that his baptism had set him free, called on the Sharps for help – this incident led Sharp to begin his campaign to seek a definitive legal ruling that it was unlawful to kidnap black slaves in England and to make efforts to rescue kidnapped slaves.
St Leonard Shoreditch:26 June 1805, burial of ‘Betty, a black woman servant to the Rev Mr Stancourt of Hoxton Square, aged 17 years’ (GL Ms 7499/12)
St Leonard Shoreditch:27 September 1816, baptism of ‘Catherine Lydia, [surname unknown] daughter of [left blank] has gone by the name of Mahoney, an African of Kingston, Jamaica. [Abode] Brunswick, Hackney Road, servant, supposed to be born 1 December 1792’ (GL Ms 7496/19) Entry supplied by Ms Lyla Horley
British Factory [i.e. merchant community], Lisbon, Portugal:
15 June 1737, baptism of ‘William, a black belonging to Mr Bonsfield’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
25 September 1737, baptism of ‘George Coffee, an English black’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
7 September 1738, baptism of ‘Nelly, a black belonging to Henry Benson’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
6 January 1739, baptism of ‘Anne, a black belonging to Mr Warden’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
25 January 1739, baptism of ‘Emma, a black belonging to Mrs Haines’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
15 July 1739, baptism of ‘George, a black belonging to Mr Cotin’ (GL Ms 10466/1)
10 May 1740, baptism of ‘Cleopatra, a black belonging to Thomas Brooks’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
29 September 1741, baptism of ‘Jonathan a black belonging to Mr Scrafton’(GL Ms 10446/1)
27 October 1741, baptism of ‘Mary a black belonging to William Leyborne’ (GL Ms 10466/1)
8 March 1743/4, baptism of ‘John a black belonging to Robert Want’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
1 April 1744, baptism of ‘Thomas a black belonging to James Watts’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
19 April 1748, baptism of ‘George London, a black belonging to John Stubbs’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
26 September 1749, baptism of ‘Julius Caesar, a black boy belonging to the consul, Mr Russel’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
25 July 1754, baptism of ‘Thomas, a black boy belonging to Joseph Fowkes’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
29 September 1756, baptism of ‘Catharine Jones, a black’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
7 April 1757, baptism of ‘Mary, a black belonging to Mrs Roberts’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
30 November 1758, baptism of ‘Andrew, a black belonging to Mr Robert Mayne’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
20 February 1765, baptism of ‘Mark, a negro of Mr Edward Taylor’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
14 January 1766, burial of ‘Black Jack, servant of Mr G Allen’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
13 July 1766, ‘John and Thomas, two blacks belonging to Mr Gerard Devisize were baptised at church’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
18 September 1768, ‘baptism of ‘Elizabeth, a black consigned to Mister Thomas Mayne’ (GL Ms 10466/1)
29 March 1779, burial of ‘Catharine Jones, a black servant of Mister Maigs [?]’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
9 July 1784, burial of ‘John Hall, a negroe’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
10 November 1785, burial of ‘John Faithful, a black’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
6 March 1786, baptism of ‘Edward Pembroke, an Indian servant of the Reverend Westmore Hulse, aged seventeen years’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
21 February 1789, baptism of ‘Juliana, an Indian aged about twelve years’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
15 October 1790, baptism of ‘Francis John, an Indian servant of Mr Thomas Brown, about nine years of age’ (GL Ms 10446/1)
British Factory, Oporto, Portugal
22 January 1737, baptism of ‘John, a servant to Mr Smith’ (GL Ms 10446A)
13 February 1752, baptism of ‘Eleanor, a black from Carolina’ (GL Ms 10446A)
10th April 1752, baptism of ‘Henry, a black from Carolina’ (GL Ms 10446A)
13 April 1752, baptism of ‘Katherine Phillis, a black from Carolina’ (GL Ms 10446A)
9th November 1752, baptism of ‘Charles, a black’ (GL Ms 10446A)
Macao, China:1 October 1823, baptism of ‘Nancy, daughter of [not christened], whose surname was Ruth, a slave, of Macao’ (GL Ms 11218 p.331)
One of the entries found was for Jonathan Strong, baptised on 22 July 1765 at St Leonard Shoreditch, “a blackmoor, about 18 years of age” (GL Ms 7496/7). Strong was brought as a slave from Barbados to London and was savagely beaten with a pistol by his master David Lisle so that his head was swollen, he was nearly blind and he could hardly walk. He was abandoned by Lisle in the street.
Jonathan Strong found his way to the surgeon William Sharp in Mincing Lane, where Sharp treated the poor of the City of London for free. Sharp’s brother Granville noticed Strong’s condition and asked him about his shocking injuries. The occasion is recorded in Strong’s own words in Prince Hoare, Memoirs of Granville Sharp (London, 1820), page 33 which is on display in case no.1.
William Sharp arranged for Jonathan Strong to be admitted to St Bartholomew’s Hospital where he received treatment for four months. On his discharge, the Sharp brothers found him employment as errand boy with Mr Brown, a surgeon and apothecary in Fenchurch Street, with whom he lived for two years.
Lisle saw Strong by accident one day. Having followed him home, Lisle planned to sell the slave he had left in the street and obtained £30 for him, to be paid when Jonathan Strong was aboard a West Indian ship ready to sail. Lisle therefore paid two slave-hunters to kidnap Strong and deliver him to the Poultry Compter (a jail in the City of London) until a West India ship was ready to sail. A drawing of the Poultry Compter with a map showing its location are on display in case no.1.
Jonathan Strong desperately appealed to Granville Sharp for help. Sharp took his case to court. The action was heard at Mansion House on 18 September 1767 before the Lord Mayor, Sir Robert Kite, who discharged Strong because “the lad had not stolen anything, and was not guilty of any offence, and was therefore at liberty to go away”.
In the court room, in front of the Lord Mayor, the captain of the ship attempted to seize Jonathan Strong but Sharp prevented him being taken away. The Jamaican planter who had bought Strong sued the Sharps for trespass for depriving him of his property. The Sharp brothers engaged lawyers to defend them, who to their dismay quoted the Yorke-Talbot ruling of 1729 that a slave did not become free on coming to England, he did not become free by baptism and that any master might compel his slave to return to the West Indies.
Granville Sharp “could not believe that the Laws of England were really so injurious to natural Rights” and began studying the law to conduct his own defence. He was a clerk in the Ordnance Office at Tower Hill and had “never opened a lawbook (except the Bible) in my life”. He was determined to defend himself, his brother and Strong and combat the cruelty and injustice of slavery.
Having read widely and traced the original sources of the laws of England, he was convinced that slavery was not sanctioned by English law and showed his findings to lawyers at the Inns of Court which succeeded in intimidating the Jamaican planter’s lawyers. In 1769 once their suit had failed, Sharp published his answer to Yorke-Talbot, A Representation of the Injustice and Dangerous Tendency of Tolerating Slavery; or of Admitting the Least Claim of Private Property in the Persons of Men, in England. His conclusion was that any person who came to England and lived there became a subject of the King and therefore subject to Habeas Corpus which prevented forcible removal to another country. He also used humanitarian arguments - “a toleration of slavery is, in effect, a toleration of inhumanity”. This was the first major anti-slavery work by a British author. Sharp received letters privately welcoming his book, some from lawyers but the book was only reviewed once and there was no other public reaction.
Sharp assisted other runaway slaves to find safety and brought other cases to court, seeking in vain a definitive judgment on the legality of slavery in four separate cases. Finally, another man came to him for help – James Somerset.
Somerset was an African slave sold in Virginia to Charles Stewart, a colonial customs official, later based in Boston. He arrived, with Stewart, in London in 1769 and was baptised as James Summersett on 20 February 1771 at St Andrew Holborn. The entry is displayed in case no.2 (GL Ms 6667/12). He left Stewart’s service on 1 October 1771. Stewart hunted him, and he was seized and confined in irons aboard a ship bound for Jamaica on 26 November 1771.
His godparents, Thomas Walklin, Elizabeth Cade and John Marlow, applied for a writ of habeas corpus to prevent his removal and sale in Jamaica and paid for James Somerset’s bail. Somerset visited Granville Sharp and persuaded Sharp to become involved.
Sharp masterminded the proceedings, organising counsel to argue the case. He published an appendix to The Injustice of Tolerating Slavery which drew on the cases he had brought previously and implicitly criticised Lord Mansfield. Indeed, he arranged for James Somerset to deliver a copy directly to Mansfield. (A copy is held in Guildhall Library, B:S 531.)
West Indian planters rallied round Stewart, determined too that this should be a test case, and framed their response to the habeas corpus very carefully. They said that “negro slaves” were chattel goods, that Somerset was a slave according to the laws of Virginia and Africa, and that his master had detained him to send him to Jamaica for sale.
The case was heard in February 1772 and attracted a great deal of press and public attention. After a great deal of arguments on both sides, the argument centred on whether slavery was legal in England and whether an English court should uphold colonial laws which did not have an English parallel.
Lord Mansfield was the eminent lawyer of his day, indeed of the eighteenth century. He had a natural conservative bent and was well aware of the economics of slavery. He tried to persuade Elizabeth Cade, Somerset’s godmother, to buy him and Charles Stewart, his former owner, to set him free. Both refused because they wanted the case settled and the law made clear.
On 22 June 1772Mansfield delivered his judgment. He knew the significance of the case and said “Fiat justicia, ruat coelum” (Let justice be done, though the heavens fall). His decision was carefully worded and focused on the legality of forcible deportation. He argued that Stewart was not entitled to seize and deport Somerset by the laws of England. The laws of Virginia supported slavery but there was no law in England which did and in “a case so odious as the condition of slaves” there must be a positive law. “No master ever was allowed here to take a slave by force to be sold abroad because he deserted from his service… and therefore the man must be discharged.”
Did Lord Mansfield free slaves in England?
Well, the St James’ Chronicle and general evening post (held in Guildhall Library Printed Books) and the Middlesex Journal, both of 23 June 1772 and Felix Farley’s Bristol Journal certainly thought so, reporting “That every slave brought into this country ought to be free, and no master had a right to sell them here”. Other papers more accurately reported that the Somerset case had decided only that black slaves in England could not be forcibly removed from England.
The trial had been attended by a large number of Black people who celebrated the verdict with delight. A ball for Black people only was arranged at a pub in Westminster where Lord Mansfield’s health was drunk. James Somerset wrote to a friend that the judgment meant all slaves were now free.
There were still many slaves in England long after 1772 – adverts for finding and returning runaway slaves like the one on display in case 2 continued to appear in English newspapers, especially in Bristol. West India planters ignored Mansfield’s judgment, or got round it by apprenticing their slaves. They lobbied, unsuccessfully, for an Act of Parliament to reinstate the Yorke/Talbot ruling.
What had changed was the tide of public opinion. The case of James Somerset had excited much public interest and was widely reported in newspapers who portrayed it as a drama with human interest as well as great legal importance. Many English people found that they could not tolerate a man or woman being owned as a chattel, especially in London, where a free (albeit poor) Black community developed in the late 18th century. The slave trading ports of Bristol and Liverpool were more aware of the foundations of their prosperity.
What happened to Strong, Somerset and Sharp?
Jonathan Strong never fully recovered from his beating and died in April 1773.
Nothing is known of James Somerset after 1772.
Granville Sharp continued his anti-slavery campaign, recruited William Wilberforce as a campaigner, and was involved in a high-minded but disastrous scheme to repatriate freed slaves to Sierra Leone. He died in 1813 and has a memorial in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.
All the unattributed quotations in this leaflet are drawn from Granville Sharp’s own writings, and are all contained in Prince Hoare Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Esq. composed from his own manuscripts, and other authentic documents (London, 1820).
We have also drawn heavily on Folarin Shyllon, Black slaves in Britain (London, 1974) and (to a lesser extent) Peter Fryer, Staying power: a history of black people in Britain (London, 1984) and the Dictionary of National Biography entries for Granville Sharp and James Somerset.
That there is an entry for Somerset in the new DNB shows the extent to which the history of black people in Britain is becoming part of the academic mainstream in British history. Several books have been very recently published which may well have more to contribute but we have not been able to read and consider them at the time of writing. These are: Simon Schama ,Rough Crossings (BBC Books); Steven M Wise, Though the Heavens may fall (Yale) which is specifically about the Mansfield judgment; Adam Hochschild, Bury the chains: the first international human rights movement.
The captions to material used in the exhibition are given below:
Display case 1
1 St Sepulchre Holborn baptism register 1768-87. Guildhall Library Ms 7221/1.
The register is open to show the baptisms of two black men in their twenties on 26 August 1782. In January this year we asked our readers to let us know about any entries they found for Black and Asian Londoners. Most of the 207 entries found so far have been baptisms of adult black men and women, probably because of a widespread belief that slaves could be freed by being baptised as Christians.
2 View of St Sepulchre, Skinner Street, with a figure on the right driving cattle.
Print of engraving by S Lacey of Thomas Hosmer Shepherd’s drawing, London, circa 1830, held in Guildhall Library Print Room, Pr.523/SEP.
3 Public architecture: inside view of the Poultry Compter, drawn in June 1811, by John Thomas Smith (London, 1813) held in Guildhall Library Print Room, Pr.484:POU.
Jonathan Strong, whose baptism we found, was beaten and abandoned by his master and rescued by Granville and William Sharp. He was recaptured and imprisoned by his former master in the Poultry Compter in September 1767. The Compter was an ancient jail on the north side of the Poultry in the City of London, first referred to in 1477 but probably longer established than that. Ned Ward called it a “hellish inferno” in The London spy (London, 1703).
4Photocopy of John Rocque’s map of London published as The A-Z of Georgian London (London, 1981) showing the location of Poultry Compter and thePoultryCompterentryfromthe London Encyclopaedia ed. Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert, London, 1983).
The entry confuses Jonathan Strong with James Somerset and mistakenly calls Somerset the last slave in England. (See display case 2 for more about this myth.)
5 Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Esq. by Prince Hoare (London, 1820) held in GL Printed Books, AN 13.1.12.
These memoirs, based on Sharp’s writings and documents, describe Sharp’s anti-slavery campaign and show how his passionate interest was sparked by Jonathan Strong’s ill-treatment (described here) and his subsequent recapture and imprisonment. Strong’s testimony at the bottom of page 33 is an unusual survival of a black man telling his story.
Display case 2
1 James Somerset’s baptism on 12 February 1771 at St Andrew Holborn Guildhall Library Ms 6667/12.
His surname is given as Summersett, one of several variations on Somerset which appear in the original and secondary sources about his famous legal case.
2 Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay, great niece of Lord Mansfield, with her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, painted by Johann Zoffany, 1779.
Dido, born around 1762-3, was the great-niece of Lord Mansfield, the daughter of his nephew John Lindsay and Belle a slave who became Lord Mansfield’s housekeeper. She lived at Mansfield’s London residence, Kenwood House, first as a companion to her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, then as a secretary to Mansfield, though she was also in charge of the dairy and poultry yard.
This fascinating portrait (held at SconePalace, the ancestral home of the Earls of Mansfield) indicates her ambiguous position in the household – she did not generally dine with the Mansfields but joined the ladies after dinner. She is mentioned in contemporary sources, leading to speculation then and now that she softened Mansfield’s attitude to slavery.
3 Cobbett’s complete collection of state trials, vol.20 (London, 1814).
The volume shows Lord Mansfield’s judgment on the abduction and imprisonment of James Somerset, referred to in the volume as “the Negro Case”. Mansfield ruled only on the unlawfulness of abducting a slave from England but there was a belief then and now that he had freed all slaves in Britain. This belief was reported as fact in several newspapers the day after the judgment (23 June 1772) and appears in many historical and reference works (for one example of many, see the London Encyclopaedia entry for Poultry Compter in display case 1 downstairs in Printed Books section).
4 Photograph of an advert for the return of a runaway slavewhich appeared in The London Gazette, 17-21 April 1690.
The advert describes his steel collar with his master’s name, the steel cuff on his wrist and the iron chain connecting the collar to the cuff. In the Gazette it appears below a notice about a stray horse.
5 London Chronicle,28 April 1774.
This news story about a black man, a former servant, being abducted and imprisoned on a ship bound for St Kitts shows the changing tide of public opinion clearly, by reporting the actions of the “several Gentlemen” who served his former master with a habeas corpus and by describing the black man as a “poor fellow”.
The origins of the Quaker testimony against slavery and the slave trade can be traced back to George Fox when he wrote a letter of caution "To Friends beyond sea, that have Blacks and Indian slaves" in 1657. In 1671 he visited Barbados and urged Friends to treat slaves better; his preaching in Barbados was subsequently published in London in 1676 under the title Gospel family-order. Other 17th and early 18th century Quakers to condemn the holding of slaves included William Edmundson, John Woolman, George Keith, William Southeby, John Farmer, Benjamin Lay and Ralph Sandiford.
From the 1750s colonial American Quakers opposed to slavery had called on British Quakers to take action. British Quakers had in 1727 already expressed their official disapproval of the slave trade. On 17 June 1783 London Yearly Meeting presented to Parliament a petition against the slave trade signed by over 300 Quakers. On 20 June 1783, Meeting for Sufferings set up a 23-membercommittee to consider the slave trade, and a few weeks after six Friendsmet informally as a separate group. This group wrote and circulated anti-slavery literature and lobbied Parliament. These actions by Quakers were effectively the first lobbying activities in Britain for abolition.
By 1785 Anglicans Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp, and the Evangelical William Wilberforce, became interested in the anti-slavery movement, and in 1787 the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade was formed with William Wilberforce as its parliamentary spokesperson. 9 of the 12 founder members were Quakers. Clarkson took on the essential task of collecting every possible source of evidence. This Society distributed anti-slavery literature and stirred public opinion against the slave trade, and anti-slavery societies sprang up all over the country. On 25 March 1807 Parliament passed the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, which abolished slave trade in the British colonies and made it illegal to carry slaves in British ships.
Although illegal in the British colonies the slave trade continued in other areas, and throughout the 19th century Quakers remained instrumental in the anti-slavery campaign.
Quaker participation was evident in various societies, such as the Anti-Slavery Society set up in 1832, and the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society (BFASS) founded in 1839 by Joseph Sturge and his supporters. The BFASS proved to be the most enduring of all the British anti-slavery societies and survives today as Anti-Slavery International.
Anti-slavery material in the Library of the Religious Society of Friends
Quakers long-standing and continuing concern against slavery is reflected in the Library of the Religious Society of Friends, which has printed items, archives and manuscripts, pictures and artefacts relating to anti-slavery.
What follows is an outline guide to the different types of resources in the Library and a selection of some of the most significant titles, archive collections and artefacts. It focuses on the abolition movement to 1807, although the Library does have an extensive collection of material relating to the anti-slavery movement throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century. Most of the printed material can be searched for using the on-line catalogue, but for a thorough search of our holdings and to search the archives and manuscripts the researcher will need to consult the finding aids and catalogues in the Library reading room.
Printed sources are books, pamphlets, periodicals and news cuttings. For books and pamphlets the main library class number for abolition is 051.69. For a full list of printed sources you will need to search the catalogues to printed items. Most titles are on the on-line catalogue to printed materials www.quaker.org.uk/catalogue, but for supporting material you will also need to search the card catalogue in the Reading Room.
Some items will be on the open shelves in the Reading Room, but more will be on closed access. For items on closed access you will need to fill in a call slip. A few items are available only on microfilm.
Below is a selected list of key primary and secondary printed sources on Quakers and the abolition movement. The library shelf reference is given in brackets. Where items are available only on microfilm the reference is pre-fixed with MIC.
Selected primary printed sources
Please note all the printed primary sources are on closed access.
Thomas Clarkson, An essay on the slavery and commerce of the human species, particularly the African, translated from the Latin dissertation, which was honoured with the first prize in the University of Cambridge for the year 1785, with additions. London: James Phillips, 1786 [SR 051.6 CLA]
Thomas Clarkson, The history of the rise, progress and accomplishment of the abolition of the African slave-trade in the British parliament. 1808 (2 vols.) [SR 051.69 CLA]
William Dillwyn, John Lloyd, The Case of our fellow-creatures, the oppressed African, respectfully recommended to the serious consideration of the legislature of Great-Britain by the people called Quakers. London: James Phillips, 1783 [SR 051.6.A2 Vol. 1/2; MIC 886 & 900]
George Fox, Gospel family-order, being a short discourse concerning the ordering of families, both of Whites, Blacks and Indians. By G.F. Printed in the year 1676 [Box 29/16]
Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1787 - 1807), A list of the Society, instituted in 1787 for the purpose for effecting the abolition of the slave trade. London: James Phillips, 1787 [Box 291/3]
Collection of Anti-slavery tracts
By far the most substantial collection of printed material in the Library is 37 volumes of 18th and early 19th century tracts against slavery. Joseph Binyon Forster, a Manchester sugar refiner, assembled volumes 1 - 7 and the remainder were from 3 other largely unidentified collections. Totalling over 600 items the collection includes many tracts from leading abolitionists and local abolitionist societies throughout the country. There are also a few pro-slavery tracts, all added to the on-line catalogue.
The collection has been filmed in its entirety [MIC 898 - 910], and the microfilms are available commercially from World Microfilms (Microworld House, PO Box 35488, St Johns Wood, London NW8 6WD; 020 7586 4499; email@example.com).
Secondary printed sources
All the secondary sources listed below are on the open shelves in the Reading Room.
Roger Anstey, The Atlantic slave trade and British abolition, 1760 - 1810. London: Macmillan, 1975 [051.69 ANS]
David Brion Davis, The problem of slavery in the age of revolution, 1770 - 1823. Ithaca, N.Y: CornellUniversity Press, 1966 [051.69 DAV]
Thomas E. Drake, Quakers and slavery in America. New Haven, Conn.: YaleUniversity Press, 1950 [051.69 DRA]
Jerry William Frost (editor), The Quaker origins of antislavery. Norwood, Pa.: Norwood Editions, c1980 [051.69 FRO]
Judith Jennings, The business of abolishing the British slave trade 1783 - 1807. London: Frank Cass, 1997 [051.69 JEN]
Clare Midgley, Women against slavery: the British campaigns, 1780 - 1870. London: Routledge, 1992 [051.69 MID]
J.R. Oldfield, Popular politics and British anti-slavery: the mobilisation of public opinion against the slave trade, 1787 - 1807. London: Frank Cass, 1998 [051.69 OLD]
Alan M. Rees, 'English Friends and the abolition of the British slave trade' in Bulletin of Friends Historical Association, Vol. 44, No.2. (Autumn 1955), p.74-87 [Periodicals]
David Turley, The culture of English antislavery 1780 - 1860. London: Routledge, 1991
Unpublished sources: Theses and dissertations
Please note all theses and dissertations are on closed access.
Judith Jennings, 'The campaign for the abolition of the slave trade: the Quaker contribution, 1757 - 1807. Thesis (PhD) dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1975 [Thesis 051.69 JEN]
Patrick Lipscomb, 'William Pitt and the abolition of the slave trade'. Thesis (PhD) dissertation, University of Texas, 1960. [MIC 104]
The Library has substantial holdings of 19th century anti-slavery periodicals. Many are listed in the on-line catalogue, but for a full list of periodical titles and their holdings see a Hand list of Periodicals in the Library of the Society of Friends (October 2005) in the Reading Room.
Archives and manuscript sources
There are card catalogues and lists to archives and manuscripts in the Reading Room. Please note that archives and manuscripts are not included in the on-line catalogue.
New readers wishing to consult archives and manuscript materials must first produce a letter of introduction. All archives and manuscripts are on closed access and you will need to complete a call slip.
Archives are defined as the central archives and records of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain. Within the archives the principal source of information on the Society's anti-slavery activity up to 1807 are the minutes of Meeting for Sufferings and London Yearly Meeting, and their committees. The most substantial body of minutes are those of the Meeting for Sufferings Committee on the Slave Trade.
Meeting for Sufferings: Committee on the Slave Trade: Minutes 1783 - 1792
[MS box F1/7; Photostat copy at L 051.66]
The committee first met on 29 August 1783 and was laid down by Meeting for Sufferings in summer 1793.
Minutes of London Yearly Meeting and Meeting for Sufferings
References within these minutes can be located through the following indexes, both of which are housed in the Reading Room:
London Yearly Meeting minutes 1668 - 1856. Index to Places and Subjects
Meeting for Sufferings Indexes to minutes 1675 - 1684 and 1700 - 1857
In both indexes the subject terms 'Negroes', 'Slave Trade' and 'Slavery' are used being the terms used in the minutes.
Manuscripts are defined as personal papers and documents, as well as the records of non-central organisations and groups, and non-Quaker bodies closely associated with the Society.
The main manuscript collections on anti-slavery up to 1807 are listed below. In addition there are references to letters and papers within other collections. You will need to consult the manuscript catalogues to locate these, and can start by searching under the heading 'Slavery'.
Thompson-Clarkson Manuscripts[MSS vols. 325-328; MIC 908 - 909]
This collection is intended to represent the complete source materials of Thomas Clarkson's The history of the rise, progress and accomplishment of the abolition of the African slave trade (1808). It was put together by Thomas Thompson (1776 - 1861) a lifelong member of the Society of Friends, who tried to collect some printed material, an autograph letter or signature and, where possible, a portrait of every person mentioned in the work. MS vol. 328 is a typescript list and alphabetical index of persons. The collection was made in four volumes; the Library has three volumes but the fourth has not been traced.
Surviving minutes (7 July - 17 November 1783) of the informal group of 6 Friends
Only 7 pages of the minutes survive and these are within the Thompson-Clarkson MSS, Vol II, p.9 [MS vol 327; MIC 908]
The group was an informal association that met on its own comprising 5 members of the MfS appointed 23-member committee plus one other. The group decided, "that the public mind should be enlightened" and decided to do this through printing anti-slavery materials and publishing anti-slavery articles in the press. The minutes list the articles selected for publication.
William Dickson: Diary of a visit to Scotland 5 January - 19 March 1792 on behalf of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. [Temp MSS. Box 10/14]
William Dickson, a former secretary to the Governor of Barbados and the author of 'Letters on Slavery' (1789), was engaged by the London Anti-Slavery Society to gain support for the abolition movement in Scotland.
Visual material and artefacts
There are a few items in the picture collection. Some of these are just photographs from the illustrations in tracts collection, e.g. the frontispiece from Mary Dudley's Scripture evidence of the sinfulness of injustice and oppression …1828 [Vol. 510/8]. The Library has two versions of the famous plan of a slave ship - one taken from Thomas Clarkson's History… of the abolition of the… slave trade …1808 [SR 051.69 CLA], the other from a broadsheet of ca. 1789 [Vol. H/167]. In both cases the original is a folded sheet, which is very fragile.
There is a 19th century lithograph engraved by A. Hoffay from an original by I.W.H. Handley entitled "Inside of a slave ship, starboard side." Little is known about this lithograph.
There is also a photo taken in 1934 of the "Liberation Tree" or Wilberforce Oak in Keston, Kent - which according to Wilberforce's diaries is where he first told Pitt he intended to bring a bill against the slave trade in parliament.
There are images of a few of the Quakers involved in the abolition campaign. These include a portrait of William Dillwyn by C.R Leslie, which can be viewed in the Reading Room; silhouette portraits of Elizabeth Heyrick (1769 - 1831), Mary Dudley (1782? - 1847) and Elizabeth Dudley (1779 - 1849); an engraving of John Coakley Lettsom; and an engraving taken from a relief bust of Richard Phillips.
Enquiries about obtaining reproductions from the picture collection should be made to the Assistant Librarian: Pictures Collection at the contact details below.
The Library has a variety of commemorative anti-slavery china (cups, saucers and plates) with the famous logo showing a slave in chains. There is also a (damaged) silk handbag, which belonged to Rebecca Fox of Tottenham in the 1820s screen-printed with a picture of a woman slave with a child.
Biographical information on Quaker abolitionists
The Library has a number of sources and finding aids to help find biographical information. Most of these are listed in Library Guide 2: Genealogical Sources, copies of which can be downloaded from our website or requested from the Library.
Library opening hours:
Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri:
Please note the Library closes for one week in the spring and for the last week of November.
It is advisable to telephone or email prior to visiting. A letter of introduction is required to consult archives and manuscripts and material on closed access. New researchers are asked to read the Library Rules; copies can be downloaded from our website or requested from the Library.
For further information or help in using this Library please contact us by either emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, telephoning 020 7663 1135 or writing to:
The Library Friends House 173 Euston Road LondonNW1 2BJ
A triangle of money
The profits made from the global trade of sugar, tea and coffee were the major driving force behind the triangular trade. For centuries it provided substantial quantities of venture capital for the industrial revolution and the development of the western European economy.
The first slave traders
Sugar nippers. Repro ID F0908
The trade involved a number of prominent people at the time. For example, Sir Robert Rich (later the Earl of Warwick) owned plantations in Virginia.
Rich was one of the founders of the London-based company of Adventurers to Guinea and Benin. The company was established to trade with West Africa and supply enslaved Africans to the Americas. Charles I granted a licence to a group of London merchants in 1632 for the transportation of enslaved people from West Africa.
The triangle of trade
The Transatlantic Slave Trade consisted of three journeys:
The outward passage from Europe to Africa carrying manufactured goods.
The middle passage from Africa to the Americas or the Caribbean carrying African captives and other 'commodities’.
The homeward passage carrying sugar, tobacco, rum, rice, cotton and other goods back to Europe.
A slave ship? Repro ID E9146
By the 1790s there were 480,000 enslaved people in British Caribbean colonies. It is estimated that 11-12 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic into slavery. Many more had died during capture and transportation.
In the first third of the 18th century, Britain’s involvement in the slave trade grew enormously. During the 1720s nearly 200,000 enslaved Africans were transported across the Atlantic in British ships.
The middle passage
The middle passage across the Atlantic was brutal. Enslaved Africans were packed into tight spaces and given barely enough food and water to stay alive.
The slave ship Brookes. Repro ID F0872
It is estimated that on average 10% died en route rising to 30% on a bad voyage. European sailors who crewed the ships also stood a high chance of not returning due to sickness during the voyage.
One of the most graphic and well-known images connected with the slave trade is the plan of the Brookes. This shows how overcrowded a slave ship could be and yet still remain within the legally permitted capacity.
How did the merchants get away with it?
Account book of the snow 'Molly', a slave ship. Repro ID F2506
Sailors who did return brought back tales of what they had seen during their voyages. However, only a few spoke about it publicly for fear of being refused further work by the powerful merchants, ship owners and captains engaged in the trade.
It was a very profitable business often making a high rate of return on investment, as account books from the period show. Powerful trading interests tried to prevent any regulation or abolition of the slave trade using a fierce campaign of misinformation, lies and delaying tactics.
Telling the truth
Slave in chains. Repro ID E9148
In order to expose the truth publicly about the triangular trade it was necessary to show conditions on the ships and plantations.
To counter the historical European notion that African people were 'little more than savages’, African and British abolitionists worked tirelessly to demonstrate the truth.
They showed objects illustrating the great cruelty and suffering caused by the trade.
They revealed images showing the degrading treatment of enslaved people.
They also displayed the sophisticated African artefacts.
These items shocked the British public, and educated them about Africa, plantation life and enslavement.
Tudor, Stuart and Hanoverian England
The trade in slaves in England was made illegal in 1102, and the last form of enforced servitude (villeinage) had disappeared in Britain by the beginning of the seventeenth century. However, by the eighteenth century black slaves began to be brought into London and Edinburgh as personal servants. They were not bought or sold, and no legal action was taken to prevent this slavery until 1772, when the case of a runaway slave named James Somerset forced a legal decision. Somerset's lawyer Francis Hargrave stated "In 1569, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, a lawsuit was brought against a man for beating another man he had bought as a slave overseas. The record states, 'That in the 11th [year] of Elizabeth , one Cartwright brought a slave from Russia and would scourge him; for which he was questioned; and it was resolved, that England was too pure an air for a slave to breathe in.' In other words the court ruled that English Common Law made no provision for slavery. The state did not recognize one person as the property of another. In his judgement of 22 June1772, Lord Chief JusticeWilliam Murray, Lord Mansfield, of the Court of King's Bench declared: "Whatever inconveniences, therefore, may follow from a decision, I cannot say this case is allowed or approved by the law of England; and therefore the black must be discharged." It was thus declared that the condition of slavery did not exist under English law. This judgement emancipated the 10 to 14 thousand slaves in England and also laid down that slavery contracted in other jurisdictions (such as the American colonies) could not be enforced in England (slaves brought to England would automatically become free men).
Item 20 of The Grand Remonstrance, a list of grievances against Charles I and presented to him in 1641, contains the following:
"20. And although all this was taken upon pretence of guarding the seas, yet a new unheard-of tax of ship-money was devised, and upon the same pretence, by both which there was charged upon the subject near £700,000 some years, and yet the merchants have been left so naked to the violence of the Turkishpirates, that many great ships of value and thousands of His Majesty's subjects have been taken by them, and do still remain in miserable slavery."
When slaves were emancipated through the British Parliament in 1834 the British Government paid compensation to slave owners. In one case the Bishop of Exeter and three business colleagues got compensation for the 665 slaves they had to set free.
Recently (2006), Southwark Bishop Thomas Butler, at the Anglican Church's General Synod stated "The profits from the slave trade were part of the bedrock of our country's industrial development".
In that time second serfdom took place in Eastern Europe during this period (particularly in Austria, Hungary, Prussia, Russia and Poland). Only in 1768 was a law passed in Poland that discontinued the nobility's control of the right to life or death of serfs. Serfdom remained the practice on the most part of territory of Russia until February 19, 1861. Some of the Roma people were enslaved over five centuries in Romania until abolition in 1864.
The Strange Tale of Whitehaven's Slave Trade Goblet
IT is just ten inches high and carries ancient enamelling that commemorates Whitehaven's links to the slave trade. Yet this modest piece of glassware is not only valued at almost £100,000, but has a vivid link to the founding father of the United States Navy, John Paul Jones. It was also the centre of an openly admitted pay-off to the underworld in 1995. Looking westward to sea the small fishing village at Whitehaven had blossomed from a cluster of 50 cottages to a port of 2,000 during the lifetime of it then owner, Sir James Lowther (1642-1705) The impetus for this growth was easily dug coal that could be profitably shipped across the Irish Sea to feed the domestic grates of Dublin. Sea walls and ship-building naturally followed. Then the bold ship-owners and their captains realised the money making possibilities of the New World. Virginia, named after the Virgin Queen Elizabeth 1 became the frequent destination for Whitehaven ships. The money making trade started with tobacco (narcotics being a huge moneyspinner then, just as today) The trade grew however and the West Indies attracted Cumbrian investment in plantations. Sugar was the driving force to this trade, as was the rum that was distilled from it. It was the need for labour to service this sugar and rum business that Whitehaven joined with London, Bristol and Liverpool merchants in the triangular trade taking tools and fancy goods to bribe arab slave traders in West Africa. These traders supplied negro slaves to be shipped to the Caribbean. The same ships then loaded up with sugar and rum before returning to Britain. For at least ten years Whitehaven was involved in this human trade until 1769 when the town appeared to swing behind the growing movement for abolition of slavery. In the Virginia archives Copeland museum collections officer Gillian Findley found typical references as follows: 'Early Virginia Immigrants' and 'Maryland and Virginia Colonials' with plenty of evidence of the importance of 18th century Whitehaven as a gateway for both southern Scots and northern English bound for the Americas. There are mention too of familiar-sounding Whitehaven vessels and folk including the following entries: January 17-24, 1775 Passengers from Whitehaven to Virginia by the Mary and Ann, Mr Joseph Bell: George Stevens of Virginia, planter, aged 40, returning home; George Craik of Whitehaven, (Cumberland),schoolmaster, aged 28, to follow his occupation; Sarah Cherry of Whitehaven, aged 22, indentured servant. Similar mention is made of other 'Cumberland' working people, many in their 20s, off to make a new life in Virginia, 'following their trade' ? saddlers, a courier, a shoemaker and block maker. But not all left home of their own accord: 1775 Convicts to be transported from Whitehaven to Virginia by the Hero (including) three of Carlisle* Feb 28-March 7, 1774 To go from Whitehaven to Virginia by the Caesar*a mulatto woman of Cumberland, convict, aged 23. And: May 17-24, 1774 Passengers from Whitehaven to Virginia by the Norfolk, Mr Jonathan Grindall: Peter Simpson of Hensingham, (Cumberland), waggoner, aged 50, transported: Mary Bragg of Hensingham, aged 50, transported; Ann Bragg of Hensingham, aged 20, to settle: Betty Tennant of Whitehaven, (Cumberland), aged 16, to settle. See more on Whitehaven's USA connections.
The Beilby Goblet was made in Newcastle on Tyne by William Beilby in 1763. It carries the Royal coat of arms of King George 3rd and on the other side a hand painting of a sailing ship and the words "Success to the African Trade of Whitehaven". The goblet had been made to commemorate the 1763 launch of the slave ship 'King George'. On that ship's maiden voyage the Third Mate was none other than one John Paul Jones. Jones was to later speak of his dislike of "this abominable trade.''
Events now move to 1985 when Whitehaven's museum curator Harry Fancy realised the Bielby goblet was for sale and likely to follow in Paul Jone's footsteps across the Atlantic. The CorningGlassMuseum was bidding for the Bielby Goblet. The Victoria and AlbertMuseum moved swiftly and tried to halt the export. Harry said of the bid to keep the goblet in England "It was a David and Goliath situation.'' But the decision of the Export Licence Review Committee was helpful. They gave Whitehaven four months to match the US bid of £62,000. Copeland Council and other grant donations won the day and the goblet was saved for Whitehaven. But life for the 233 year old piece of glassware took a further bizarre twist. In 1994 the woefully poor security at Whitehaven museum was breached when theives smashed a glass case and fled down a rear fire escape with the goblet. Customs kept watch, but the valuable and so easily damaged goblet had vanished. That is until covert calls were made to police from the underworld. Possible as result of a high reward being offered the thieves had made contact. The goblet could be returned, unharmed, but in return for hard cash. The insurers were brought into secret talks. The culmination of this was a meeting in a Cumbrian car park as Detective Inspector Terry O'Connell had the unenviable task of handing over a briefcase containing £10,000 in untracable bank notes. He and curator, Harry Fancy were then handed in return a plain cardboard box. Inside layers of tissue paper were lifted to reveal the deep greeny glass and its gleaming enamelling. Informed sources said Zurich insurance paid £6,500, Copeland Council £2,500 and the Friends of the Museum made up the extra. Detective O'Connell said he suspected the goblet had passed through several hands, as it was so 'hot' and easily tracable.
In 2006 Copeland Council decided to issue a formal apology for slavery, made on behalf of the people of Copeland, to mark the Wilberforce bi-centenary next year in 2007. The 2007 event will mark 200 years since the historic Abolition of the Slave Trade Act, introduced into parliament by Hull MP William Wilberforce. For at least ten years Whitehaven was involved in this human trade until 1769 when the town swung behind the growing movement for abolition of slavery. ONE of the first times a black slave was permitted to share a white person’s burial plot in England happened in Whitehaven in 1700. And the Whitehaven burial in St Nicholas’ churchyard, of the slave called Jane, was in defiance of the then law stating that no African could be buried in a churchyard. The burial was that of the slave servant of Mildred Gale, grandmother of the first US president, George Washington.
Amateur researcher Jean McInally, who hails from Kells but now lives in Scotland, has spotted the unique nature of the slave burial in English history. She said: “I have been asked why I think the burial of Mildred Gale, her baby daughter and her African slave in St Nicholas’s Churchyard, Whitehaven, is so important. “It was very important as in 1665 New Amsterdam was taken by the British from the Dutch and renamed New York. The British then brought in very harsh laws against the African slave population. “America was, at this time and at the time of Mildred Gale’s burial, a colony of Britain.
“Even before the laws in New York, all Africans were buried in mass or communal graves. They weren’t allowed to marry without permission, travel or meet in groups and in 1695 the British brought in a law stating that no African could be buried in a churchyard! “Whitehaven would know all about this at the time as ships were going back and forward from the old port on a regular basis. “No way would a white woman have shared a burial plot with an African slave in America or Britain at this time.”
But Muriel Cinnamon, who wrote a book on the Gale family, told The News this week: “I think the family had Jane baptised either in London or on the way to Whitehaven. They probably knew she was ailing and the baptism would have enabled her to be buried alongside her mistress. Jane is referred to in the parish register as a ‘negro servant’ rather than slave.”
Mrs McInally said: “From all accounts passed down to me, Mildred Gale had this slave girl educated and had her dressed as well as herself. They were great friends. “Mildred Gale was 300 years ahead of her time – as was Whitehaven regarding this burial. Cumbria was more advanced than the rest of the country by about 100 years! “William Wilberforce, the son of a wealthy Hull merchant born 1759, became an MP at age 20, and fought for over 50 years to stop the slave trade. Before he died in 1833 he knew his bill was going through Parliament and it was passed just after he died, The Abolition of the Slave Trade. He had friends in Cumbria. “American gave them their freedom in 1863. A civil war was fought over it and it was the 1960s, 1970s, before the colour bar started to fall. “Mildred Gale’s short life was certainly amazing. America would be a wild place as she was growing up in the 1670s. Pirates raiding the coastal settlements. Britain, France and Spain all fighting over the sugar, tobacco and rum trade. American Indians fighting to keep their land and way of life and the terrible slave ships and auctions. “Her burial is exactly opposite the fish restaurant on Duke Street, the tall dark headstone about 5ft high, about 10ft from the back wall, looked on to Duke Street, with just enough room for the burial in front.”
“Whitehaven proclaimed it to all the world on the headstone. It read: d 1700, Mildred Gale nee Warner of Warner Hall Virginia, wife of George Gale merchant of Whitehaven, Here also lie with her, her baby daughter and her African slave Jane.
“Mildred Gale was the widow of Major Laurence Washington and mother of their three children: John, Augustine and Mildred.” “Her grandson, Major George Washington, showed great courage in 1781 when he promised slaves their freedom if they would fight for him against the British. “A lot of them did and he won the battle of Yorktown 1781. “He was the first president of America, eight years later in 1789.” The exact location of the gravestone is now unclear after hundreds were laid face down during a "tidying up" exercise in the churchyard in the 1970s.
Modern Slavery continues...There has been publicity this year (2001) Over the use of child slave labour in the cocoa plantations of West Africa. An outcry turned into a mystery about the fate of dozens of children reported to be in a suspected slave ship in west African waters when the vessel docked in Cotonou, Benin, in April 2001 with none of the suspected victims on board. The government of Benin and UN officials had claimed that about 180 children destined to work as slaves on plantations in Gabon were in the Nigerian-registered MV Etireno. UN officials in Cotonou speculated that the other children might have been put ashore elsewhere after the publicity about the ship and its cargo or, at worst, dumped at sea. To add to the confusion, there were reports of a ship carrying a large number of children trying to dock in Equatorial Guinea.
Chronology Of The History Of Slavery: 1619-1789
1619 The other crucial event that would play a role in the development of America was the arrival of Africans to Jamestown. A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar in legal position to many poor Englishmen who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. The popular conception of a racial-based slave system did not develop until the 1680's. (A Brief History of Jamestown, The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Richmond, VA23220, email: email@example.com, Web published February, 2000)
The legend has been repeated endlessly that the first blacks in Virginia were "indentured servants," but there is no hint of this in the records. The legend grew up because the word slave did not appear in Virginia records until 1656, and statutes defining the status of blacks began to appear casually in the 1660s. The inference was then made that blacks called servants must have had approximately the same status as white indentured servants. Such reasoning failed to notice that Englishmen, in the early seventeenth century, used the work servant when they meant slave in our sense, and, indeed, white Southerners invariably used servant until 1865 and beyond. Slave entered the Southern vocabulary as a technical word in trade, law and politics. (Robert McColley in Dictionary of Afro-American Slavery, Edited by Randall M. Miller and John David Smith, Greenwood Press, 1988 pp 281)
Jamestown had exported 10 tons of tobacco to Europe and was a boomtown. The export business was going so well the colonists were able to afford two imports which would greatly contribute to their productivity and quality of life. 20 Blacks from Africa and 90 women from England. The Africans were paid for in food; each woman cost 120 pounds of tobacco. The Blacks were bought as indentured servants from a passing Dutch ship low on food, and the women were supplied by a private English company. Those who married the women had to pay their passage--120 pounds of tobacco. (Gene Barios, Tobacco BBS: tobacco news )
With the success of tobacco planting, African Slavery was legalized in Virginia and Maryland, becoming the foundation of the Southern agrarian economy. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
Although the number of African American slaves grew slowly at first, by the 1680s they had become essential to the economy of Virginia. During the 17th and 18th centuries, African American slaves lived in all of England’s North American colonies. Before Great Britain prohibited its subjects from participating in the slave trade, between 600,000 and 650,000 Africans had been forcibly transported to North America. ("Immigration," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
Following the arrival of twenty Africans aboard a Dutch man-of-war in Virginia in 1619, the face of American slavery began to change from the "tawny" Indian to the "blackamoor" African in the years between 1650 and 1750. Though the issue is complex, the unsuitability of Native Americans for the labor intensive agricultural practices, their susceptibility to European diseases, the proximity of avenues of escape for Native Americans, and the lucrative nature of the African slave trade led to a transition to an African based institution of slavery. During this period of transition, however, the colonial "wars" against the Pequots, the Tuscaroras, the Yamasees, and numerous other Indian nations led to the enslavement and relocation of tens of thousands of Native Americans. In the early years of the eighteenth century, the number of Native American slaves in areas such as the Carolinas may have been as much as half of the African slave population. During this transitional period, Africans and Native Americans shared the common experience of enslavement. In addition to working together in the fields, they lived together in communal living quarters, produced collective recipes for food and herbal remedies, shared myths and legends, and ultimately became lovers. The intermarriage of Africans and Native Americans was facilitated by the disproportionality of African male slaves to females (3 to 1) and the decimation of Native American males by disease, enslavement, and prolonged wars with the colonists.
As Native American societies in the Southeast were primarily matrilineal, African males who married Native American women often became members of the wife's clan and citizens of the respective nation. As relationships grew, the lines of distinction began to blur. The evolution of red-black people began to pursue its own course; many of the people who came to be known as slaves, free people of color, Africans, or Indians were most often the product of integrating cultures. In areas such as Southeastern Virginia, The Low Country of the Carolinas, and Silver Bluff, S.C., communities of Afro-Indians began to spring up. The depth and complexity of this intermixture is revealed in a 1740 slave code in South Carolina: all Negroes and Indians, (free Indians in amity with this government, and Negroes, mulattos, and mustezoes, who are now free, excepted) mulattos or mustezoes who are now, or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their issue and offspring...shall be and they are hereby declared to be, and remain hereafter absolute slaves. (Patrick Minges, Beneath the Underdog: Race, Religion and the "Trail of Tears" Union Seminary Quarterly Review Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Union Theological Seminary, New York )
Millions of Native Americans were also enslaved, particularly in South America. In the American colonies in 1730, nearly 25 percent of the slaves in the Carolinas were Cherokee, Creek, or other Native Americans. From the 1500s through the early 1700s, small numbers of white people were also enslaved by kidnapping, or for crimes or debts. SUGGESTED READINGS: Herbert Klein's, African Slavery in Latin American and the Caribbean (1986); Ramon Gutierrez's When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico 1500-1846 (1991); Great Documents in American Indian History (1995), edited by Wayne Moquin; J. McIver Weatherford's Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America (1991); Native Heritage: Personal Accounts by American Indians 1790-Present (1995), edited by Arlene Hirschfelder; Robert Edgar Conrad's Children of God's Fire: A Documentary History of Black Slavery in Brazil (1983); and Sidney Mintz's and Richard Price's An Anthropological Approach to the Afro-American Past: A Caribbean Perspective (1981). (Ten Myths, Half-truths and Misunderstandings about Black History, Ethnic NewsWatch SoftLine Information, Inc., Stamford, CT) ( For more information about the history of the contact between Native Americans, Africans and Americans of African descent, see the work done by Patrick Minges, Union Theological Seminary )
Also see: Winthrop Jordan's White Over Black_ (see the index to find the relevant pages), and in an old publication by Almon Wheeler Lauber called Indian Slavery in Colonial Times within the Present Limits of the United States, Columbia University Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law, Columbia University, 1913
In the Americas, there were added dimensions to this resistance, especially reactions to the racial characteristics of chattel slavery. This fundamental difference from the condition of slaves in Africa emerged gradually, although the roots of racial categories were established early. Acts of resistance that combined indentured Irish workers, African slaves, and Amer-Indian prisoners did occur, although in the end these alliances disintegrated. Furthermore, slaves did not consolidate ethnic identifications on the basis of color, but it was widely understood that most blacks were slaves and no slaves were white. Although there were black, mulatto and American-born slave owners in some colonies in the Americas, and many whites did not own slaves, chattel slavery was fundamentally different in the Americas from other parts of the world because of the racial dimension. (Hilary McD. Beckles, "The Colors of Property: Brown, white and Black Chattels and their Responses to the Colonial Frontier", Slavery and Abolition, 15, 2 (1994), 36-51. Cited by Paul E. Lovejoy in "The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery" . Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997))
In fact, the first twenty "Negar" slaves had arrived from the West Indies in a Dutch vessel and were sold to the governor and a merchant in Jamestown in late August of 1619, as reported by John Rolfe to John Smith back in London. (Robinson, Donald L. Slavery and the Structure of American Politics, 1765 - 1820. NY: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1971) By 1625, ten slaves were listed in the first census of Jamestown. The first public slave auction of 23 individuals, disgracefully, was held in Jamestown square itself in 1638. What were to become the parameters and properties of the "peculiar institution" were defined in the Virginia General Assembly from about 1640 onwards. Negro indenture, then, appears to have been no more than a legal fiction of brief duration in Virginia. Black freedmen would live in a legal limbo until the general emancipation in 1864, unable to stand witness in their own defense against the testimony of any Euro-American. The General Court dispositions that appear after 1640 seem to support this contention. Barbados was the first British possession to enact restrictive legislation governing slaves in 1644, and other colonial administrations, especially Virginia and Maryland, quickly adopted similar rules modeled on it. Whipping and branding, borrowed from Roman practice via the Iberian-American colonies, appeared early and with vicious audacity.
One Virginian slave, named Emanuel, was convicted of trying to escape in July, 1640, and was condemned to thirty stripes, with the letter "R" for "runaway" branded on his cheek and "work in a shackle one year or more as his master shall see cause." . (Robinson, Donald L. Slavery and the Structure of American Politics, 1765 - 1820. NY: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1971) Shades of Rome! This was most certainly not a contractually obligated indentured servant, however oppressed but consistent with English common law, that could expect release from his contract after a time. Rather, this was an abject slave, subject to the court's definition of him as mercantable and movable "property," as chattel or res, and to his master's virtual whim. Indeed, the general assembly of Virginia in 1662 passed an act which directly and consciously invoked Justinian code: partvs seqvitvr ventram, whereby a child born of a slave mother was also held to be a slave, regardless of its father's legal status. (Greene, Lorenzo Johnston. The Negro in Colonial New England. NY: Athaneum Press, 1971) A few years later, the population of Africans in bondage in Virginia reached about 2,000, and another statute (1667) established compulsory life servitude, de addictio according to Roman code, for Negroes ... slavery had become an official institution. (Whitefield, Theodore Marshall. Slavery Agitation in Virginia, 1829 - 1832. NY : Negro Universities Press, 1930 Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625 - 1791. Slavery In Early America's Colonies-- Seeds of Servitude Rooted in The Civil Law of Rome by Charles P.M. Outwin
1638 The price tag for an African male was around $27, while the salary of a European laborer was about seventy cents per day. (Willie F. Page. _The Dutch Triangle: The Netherlands and the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1621-1664_. Studies in African American History and Culture. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. xxxv + 262 pp. Bibliographical referen1ces and index. $66.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8153-2881-8. Reviewed for H-Review by Dennis R. Hidalgo , CentralMichiganUniversity)
1640 Whipping and branding, borrowed from Roman practice via the Iberian-American colonies, appeared early and with vicious audacity. One Virginian slave, named Emanuel, was convicted of trying to escape in July, 1640, and was condemned to thirty stripes, with the letter "R" for "runaway" branded on his cheek and "work in a shackle one year or more as his master shall see cause." Charles P.M. Outwin, Securing the Leg Irons: Restriction of Legal Rights for Slaves in Virginia and Maryland, 1625 – 1791, footnote taken from Catterall, Helen Honor Tunnicliff. Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, vol. I, Cases from the Courts of England, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, and vol. IV, Cases from the Courts of New England, the Middle States, and the District of Columbia. Washington, D. C., Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1926 & 1936. Page 77)
1649 Black laborers in the Virginia colony still number only 300 (see 1619; 1671). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
Tobacco exports bring prosperity to the Virginia colony.(The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
1650 For centuries the issue of equal rights presented a major challenge to the state. Virginia, after all, had been the primary site for the development of black slavery in the Americas. By the 1650s some of the indentured servants had earned their freedom. Because replacements, whether black or white, were in limited supply and more costly, the Virginia plantation owners considered the advantages of the "perpetual servitude" policy exercised by Caribbean landowners. Following the lead of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Virginia legalized slavery in 1661. In 1672 the king of England chartered the Royal African Company to bring the shiploads of slaves into trading centers like Jamestown, Hampton, and Yorktown. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online. http://www.comptons.com/encyclopedia/)
1650 For centuries the issue of equal rights presented a major challenge to the state. Virginia, after all, had been the primary site for the development of black slavery in the Americas. By the 1650s some of the indentured servants had earned their freedom. Because replacements, whether black or white, were in limited supply and more costly, the Virginia plantation owners considered the advantages of the "perpetual servitude" policy exercised by Caribbean landowners. Following the lead of Massachusetts and Connecticut, Virginia legalized slavery in 1661. In 1672 the king of England chartered the Royal African Company to bring the shiploads of slaves into trading centers like Jamestown, Hampton, and Yorktown. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online.)
1651 Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, argued from a mechanistic theory that man is a selfishly individualistic animal at constant war with others. In the state of nature, life is "nasty, brutish, and short." (www.sciencetimeline.net presents, marks in the evolution of western thinking about nature, Assembled by David Lee, http://www.sciencetimeline.net/1651.htm)
1660 Slavery spread quickly in the American colonies. At first the legal status of Africans in America was poorly defined, and some, like European indentured servants, managed to become free after several years of service. From the 1660s, however, the colonies began enacting laws that defined and regulated slave relations. Central to these laws was the provision that black slaves, and the children of slave women, would serve for life. This premise, combined with the natural population growth among the slaves, meant that slavery could survive and grow…("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
The continuing demand for African slaves' labor arose from the development of plantation agriculture, the long-term rise in prices and consumption of sugar, and the demand for miners. Not only did Africans represent skilled laborers, but they were also experts in tropical agriculture. Consequently, they were well-suited for plantation agriculture. The high immunity of Africans to malaria and yellow fever compared with Europeans and the indigenous peoples made them more suitable for tropical labor. While white and red labor were used initially, Africans were the final solution to the acute labor problem in the New World. (The Economics of the African Slave Trade, By Anika Francis, The March 1995 Issue of The Vision Online, http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~vision/vis/Mar-95/5284.html)
Slaves were mostly for sugar plantations, diamond mines in Brazil, house servants, on tobacco farms in Virginia, in gold mines in Hispaniola and later the cotton industry in the Southern States of the USA. "The hybridization of sugar cane between the sixteenth and the nineteenth century made increasingly large harvests possible." M.E. Descoutilz: Flore pittoresque et medicale des Antilles. (Vol.4. Paris, 1883) (KURAHULANDAMuseum, Curaçao, http://www.kurahulanda.com/site/museum/museum.html))
Despite this growth in tobacco production, problems in price-stability and quality existed. In 1660, when the English markets became glutted with tobacco, prices fell so low that the colonists were barely able to survive. In response to this, planters began mixing other organic material, such as leaves and the sweepings from their homes, in with the tobacco, as an attempt to make up by quantity what they lost by low prices. The exporting of this trash tobacco solved the colonists' immediate cash flow problems, but accentuated the problems of overproduction and deterioration of quality. As the reputation of colonial tobacco declined, reducing European demand for it, colonial authorities stepped in to take corrective measures. During the next fifty years they came up with three solutions. First, they reduced the amount of tobacco produced; second, they regularized the trade by fixing the size of the tobacco hogshead and prohibiting shipments of bulk tobacco; finally, they improved quality by preventing the exportation of trash tobacco. These solutions soon fell through because there was no practical way to enforce the law. It was not until 1730, when the Virginia Inspection Acts were passed, that tobacco trade laws were fully enforced (Middleton, Arthur Pierce. TobaccoCoast. Newport News, Virginia: Mariners' Museum, 1953.. P. 112-116, Finlayson, Ann. Colonial Maryland. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1974. P. 66-679. From Economic Aspects of Tobacco during the Colonial Period 1612-1776, On line at http://tobacco.org)
1661 A reference to slavery entered into Virginia law, and this law was directed at white servants -- at those who ran away with a black servant. The following year, the colony went one step further by stating that children born would be bonded or free according to the status of the mother. (Timeline from the PBS series Africans In America)
1661 Virginia authorities noted that indentured servants were planning a rebellion and Maryland officials faced a strike (1663). (Mark LauseAmerican Labor History)
After 1691, freed black slaves were banished from Virginia. (How the Cradle of Liberty Became a Slave-Owning Nation. By Susan DeFord, Special to The Washington Post Wednesday, December 10, 1997; Page H01 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/contents/))
1662 A Virginia law assumed Africans would remain servants for life. ." (Slavery in America Grolier Electronic Publishing, 1995)
Citing 1662 Virginia statute providing that "[c]hildren got by an Englishman upon a Negro woman shall be bond or free according to the condition of the mother". Throughout the late 17th and early 18th century, several colonial legislatures adopted similar rules which reversed the usual common law presumptions that the status of the child was determined by the father. (See id. at 128 (citing 1706 New York statute); id. at 252 (citing a 1755 Georgia Law)). These laws facilitated the breeding of slaves through Black women's bodies and allowed for slaveholders to reproduce their own labor force. (See PAULA GIDDINGS, WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER: THE IMPACT OF BLACK WOMEN ON RACE AND SEX IN AMERICA 37 (1984) (noting that "a master could save the cost of buying new slaves by impregnating his own slave, or for that matter, having anyone impregnate her"). For a discussion of Race and Gender see Cheryl I. Harris, Myths of Race and Gender in the Trials of O.J. Simpson and Susan Smith -- Spectacles of Our Times)
It was conventional wisdom in the South that the best way to get a good house servant was to raise one. Often, children were taken from their parents to sleep in the Big House as well as to eat, work and play there. Their families were replaced by the families of their owners, with their position in those families clearly defined. ("A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women In America", by Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson p 70, cited in TheBlackMarket.com FAQ)
The Laws of Virginia (1662, 1691, 1705) These statutes chart the development of regulations on the sexual and reproductive lives of indentured servants and slaves, the growing institutionalization of slavery, and the construction of racism. Note the increasingly harsh penalties and how punishments differed by gender. (To view the laws visit America Past and Present On Line)
The first known Virginia statute punishing interracial sexual relations was enacted in 1662. Act XII, 2 Laws of Va. 170, 170 (Hening 1823) (enacted 1662), cited in, Leon Higginbotham, Jr. and Barbara K. Kopytoff, Racial Purity and Interracial Sex in the Law of Colonial and Antebellum Virginia, 77 Geo. L.J. 1967 (1989); supra, at 1993. As early as 1691, Virginia had enacted a statute punishing interracial marriage. Act XVI, Laws of Va. 86, 86-87 (Hening 1812) (enacted 1691), cited in, Higginbotham, supra, at 1995. The antimiscegenation laws and prohibitions were the legal manifestations of an often violently enforced taboo against sexual relations between white women and black men. The punishment in 1691 for marriage between an English or white individual and a black, mulatto, or Indian was banishment and removal from Virginia forever. Id.(The last antimiscegenation laws in Virginia were overturned in 1967). (UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, v. NORWOOD W. BARBER, (CR-92-30024) Decided: April 5, 1996)
Slavery in the United States was governed by an extensive body of law developed from the 1660s to the 1860s. Every slave state had its own slave code and body of court decisions. All slave codes made slavery a permanent condition, inherited through the mother, and defined slaves as property, usually in the same terms as those applied to real estate. Slaves, being property, could not own property or be a party to a contract. Since marriage is a form of a contract, no slave marriage had any legal standing. All codes also had sections regulating free blacks, who were still subject to controls on their movements and employment and were often required to leave the state after emancipation. (American Treasures of the Library of Congress: MEMORY, Slavery in the Capitol, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm009.html)
Slaves charged with crimes in Virginia were tried in special non-jury courts created in 1692. The purpose of the courts was not to guarantee due process but to set an example speedily. "Those slaves who attacked white people or property usually acted with a purpose and not just on impulse," wrote Philip J. Schwarz, a VirginiaCommonwealthUniversity professor who has studied slave courts. "Many killings, poisonings, thefts, uses of arson and attempts to rebel were efforts to oppose the means of maintaining slavery." The courts could resort to hideous punishments to reassert white authority. Offending slaves were hung, burned at the stake, dismembered, castrated and branded in addition to the usual whippings. White fear of black rebellion was a constant undercurrent. (How the Cradle of Liberty Became a Slave-Owning Nation. By Susan DeFord, Special to The Washington Post Wednesday, December 10, 1997; Page H01 http://www.washingtonpost.com)
1663 Maryland Settlers pass law stipulating that all imported blacks are to be given the status of slaves. Free white women who marry black slaves are to be slaves during the lives of their spouses, Ironically, children born of white servant women and blacks are regarded as free by a 1681 law. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing)
1663/09/13 First serious recorded slave conspiracy in Colonial America takes place in Virginia. A servant betrayed plot of white servants and Negro slaves in Gloucester County, Virginia. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)
1664 Slavery sanctioned by law; slaves to serve for life. (MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc. And Maryland Historical Chronology )
1664 Maryland passes a law making lifelong servitude for black slaves mandatory to prevent them from taking advantage of legal precedents established in England which grant freedom under certain conditions, such as conversion to Christianity. Similar laws are later passed in New York, New Jersey, the Carolinas and Virginia. (The History Place, Early Colonial Era Beginnings to 1700 Chronology)
1664 Slavery introduced into law in Maryland, the law also prohibited marriage between white women and black men. This particular act remained in effect for over 300 years, and between 1935 and 1967 the law was extended to forbid the marriage of Malaysians with blacks or whites. The law was finally repealed in 1967. (Maryland State Archive, THE ARCHIVISTS' Record Series of the Week, Phebe Jacobsen "Colonial Marriage Records" Bulldog Vol. 2, No. 26 18 July 1988)
There had been a number of marriages between white women and slaves by 1664 when Maryland passed a law which made them and their mixed-race children slaves for life, noting that "divers freeborne English women forgettfull of their free Condicon and to the disgrace of our Nation doe intermarry with Negro Slaves" [Archives of Maryland, 1:533-34]. (FREE AFRICAN AMERICANS OF MARYLAND AND DELAWAREINTRODUCTION By Paul Heinegg, email@example.com This is the history of the free African American communities of Maryland and Delaware during the colonial period as told through their family histories. http://www.freeafricanamericans.com/Intro_md.htm) Also see 1681.
Throughout most of the colonial period, opposition to slavery among white Americans was virtually nonexistent. Settlers in the 17th and early 18th centuries came from sharply stratified societies in which the wealthy savagely exploited members of the lower classes. Lacking a later generation's belief in natural human equality, they saw little reason to question the enslavement of Africans. As they sought to mold a docile labor force, planters resorted to harsh, repressive measures that included liberal use of whipping and branding. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
One characteristic which set American slavery apart was its racial basis. In America, with only a few early and insignificant exceptions, all slaves were Africans, and almost all Africans were slaves. This placed the label of inferiority on black skin and on African culture. In other societies, it had been possible for a slave who obtained his freedom to take his place in his society with relative ease. In America, however, when a slave became free, he was still obviously an African. The taint of inferiority clung to him. Not only did white America become convinced of white superiority and black inferiority, but it strove to impose these racial beliefs on the Africans themselves. Slave masters gave a great deal of attention to the education and training of the ideal slave, In general, there were five steps in molding the character of such a slave: strict discipline, a sense of his own inferiority, belief in the master's superior power, acceptance of the master's standards, and, finally, a deep sense of his own helplessness and dependence. At every point this education was built on the belief in white superiority and black inferiority. Besides teaching the slave to despise his own history and culture, the master strove to inculcate his own value system into the African's outlook. The white man's belief in the African's inferiority paralleled African self hate. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 3, CHAPTER 3, The Shape of American Slavery).
The psychological impact on the individual of slavery contrasted to that of individuals who survived the Nazi holocaust, In Stanley M. Elkins thinking, the concentration camps were a modern example of a rigid system controlling mass behavior. Because some of those who experienced them were social scientists trained in the skills of observation and analysis, they provide a basis for insights into the way in which a particular social system can influence mass character. While there is also much literature about American slavery written both by slaves and masters, none of it was written from the viewpoint of modern social sciences. However, Elkins postulates that a slave type must have existed as the result of the attempt to control mass behavior, and he believes that this type probably bore a marked resemblance to the literary stereotype of "Sambo." Studying concentration camps and their impact on personality provides a tool for new insights into the working of slavery, but, warns Elkins, the comparison can only be used for limited purposes. Although slavery was not unlike the concentration camp in many respects, the concentration camp can be viewed as a highly perverted form of slavery, and both systems were ways of controlling mass behavior
The concentration camp experience began with what has become labeled as shock procurement. As terror was one of the many tools of the system, surprise late-night arrests were the favorite technique. Camp inmates generally agreed that the train ride to the camp was the point at which they experienced the first brutal torture. Herded together into cattle cars, without adequate space, ventilation, or sanitary conditions, they had to endure the horrible crowding and the harassment of the guards. When they reached the camp, they had to stand naked in line and undergo a detailed examination by the camp physician. Then, each was given a tag and a number. These two events were calculated to strip away one's identity and to reduce the individual to an item within an impersonal system. (for critic of Stanley M. Elkins see Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 3, Slavery and the Formation of Character and Slavery, The Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life, by Stanley M. Elkins. University of Chicago)
"Two days before embarkation, the head of every male and female is neatly shaved; and, if the cargo belongs to several owners, each man's brand is impressed on the body of his irrespective Negro. This operation is performed with pieces of silver wire, or small irons fashioned into the merchant's initials, heated just hot enough to blister without burning the skin. When the entire cargo is the venture of but one proprietor, the branding is always dispensed with. "On the appointed day, the barracoon or slave-pen is made joyous by the abundant 'feed' which signalizes the negro's last hours in his native country. The feast over, they are taken alongside the vessel in canoes; and as they touch the deck, they are entirely stripped, so that women as well as men go out of Africa as they came into it-naked. This precaution, it is understood, is indispensable; for perfect nudity, during the whole voyage, is the only means of securing cleanliness and health. In this state they are immediately ordered below, the men to the hold and the women to the cabin, while boys and girls are, day and night, kept on deck, where their sole protection from the elements is a sail in fair weather, and a tarpaulin in foul. "At meal time they are distributed in messes of ten. Thirty years ago, when the Spanish slave trade was lawful, the captains were somewhat ceremoniously religious than at present, and it was then a universal habit to make the gangs say grace before meat, and give thanks afterwards. In our days, however, they dispense with this ritual… This over, a bucket of salt water is served to each mess by way of 'finger glasses' for the ablution of hands, after which a kidd-either of rice, farina, yams, or beans-according to the tribal habit of the negroes, is placed before the squad. In order to prevent greediness or inequality in the appropriation of nourishment, the process is performed by signals from a monitor, whose motions indicate when the darkies shall dip and when they shall swallow." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 18, iss. 3, Mar 1855, New Orleans, The African Slave Trade (pp. 297-305) )
"At sundown, the process of stowing the slaves for the night is begun. The second mate and boatswain descend into the hold, whip in hand, and range the slaves in their regular places; those on the right side of the vessel facing forward, and lying in each other's lap, while those on the left are similarly stowed with their faces towards the stern. In this way each negro lies on his right side, which is considered preferable for the action of the heart. In allotting places, particular attention is paid to size, the taller being selected for the greatest breadth of the vessel, while the shorter and younger are lodged near the bows. When the cargo is large and the lower deck crammed, the supernumeraries are disposed of on deck, which is securely covered with boards to shield them from moisture. The strict discipline of nightly stowage is, of course, of the greatest importance in slavers, else every negro would accommodate himself as if he were a passenger. "In order to insure perfect silence and regularity during night, a slave is chosen as constable from every ten, and furnished with a 'cat' to enforce commands during his appointed watch. In remuneration for his services, which, it may be believed, are admirably performed whenever the whip is required, he is adorned with an old shirt or tarry trousers. Now and then, billets of wood are distributed among the sleepers, but this luxury is never granted until the good temper of the negroes is ascertained, for slaves have often been tempted to mutiny by the power of arming themselves with these pillows from the forest." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 22, iss. 6, June 1857, New Orleans, The Middle Passage; or, Suffering of Slave and Free Immigrants: pp 570-583 )
Even the most abstract ideals of the [German] SS, such as their intense German nationalism and anti-Semitism, were often absorbed by the old [concentration camp] inmates-a phenomenon observed among the politically well-educated and even among the Jews themselves. The final quintessence of all this was seen in the "Kapo" the prisoner who had been placed in a supervisory position over his fellow inmates. These creatures, many of them professional criminals, not only behaved with slavish servility to the SS, but the way in which they often out did the SS in sheer brutality became one of the most durable features of the concentration-camp legend. (Slavery, The Problem in American Institutional and Intellectual Life, by Stanley M. Elkins. University of Chicago, first 1959 third edition 1976 page 113 see also Bettelheim, "Individual and Mass Behavior," and Elie Cohen, "Human Behavior," pp. 18p-93, for a discussion of anti-Semitism among the Jews".)
When the vessels arrive at their destined port, the Negroes are again exposed naked to the eyes of all that flock together, and the examination of their purchasers. Then they are separated to the plantations of their several masters, to see each other no more. Here you may see mothers hanging over their daughters, bedewing their naked breasts with tears, and daughters clinging to their parents, till the whipper soon obliges them to part. And what can be more wretched than the condition they then enter upon? Banished from their country, from their friends and relations for ever, from every comfort of life, they are reduced to a state scarce anyway preferable to that of beasts of burden. In general, a few roots, not of the nicest kind, usually yams or potatoes, are their food; and two rags, that neither screen them from the heat of the day, nor the cold of the night, their covering. Their sleep is very short, their labour continual, and frequently above their strength; so that death sets many of them at liberty before they have lived out half their days. The time they work in the West Indies, is from day-break to noon, and from two o'clock till dark; during which time, they are attended by overseers, who, if they think them dilatory, or think anything not so well done as it should be, whip them most unmercifully, so that you may see their bodies long after wealed and scarred usually from the shoulders to the waist. And before they are suffered to go to their quarters, they have commonly something to do, as collecting herbage for the horses, or gathering fuel for the boilers; so that it is often past twelve before they can get home. Hence, if their food is not prepared, they are sometimes called to labour again, before they can satisfy their hunger. And no excuse will avail. If they are not in the field immediately, they must expect to feel the lash. Did the Creator intend that the noblest creatures in the visible world should live such a life as this? (Thoughts Upon Slavery, John Wesley, Published in the year 1774, John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, 1996 Ruth A. Daugherty)
Africa occupies just over 20 percent of the earth's land surface and has roughly 20 percent of the world's population, but European slave traders in the 17th century and the next will decimate the continent by exporting human chattels and introducing new diseases. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The transatlantic slave trade produced one of the largest forced migrations in history. From the early 16th to the mid-19th centuries, between 10 million and 11 million Africans were taken from their homes, herded onto ships where they were sometimes so tightly packed that they could barely move, and sent to a strange new land. Since others died before boarding the ships, Africa's loss of population was even greater. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
While Ghana was the headquarters of the African slave trade, Tropical America was the real center of the trade. Thirty-six of the forty-two slave fortress were located in Ghana. Aside from Ghana, slaves were shipped from eight coastal regions in Africa including Senegambia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia region, Gold Coast, Bight of Benin, Bight of Biafra, Central Africa, and Southeast Africa (from the Cape of Good Hope to the Cape of Delgado, including Madagascar). The slave trade had the greatest impact upon central and western African. According to James Rawley, West Africa supplied 3/5ths of the slaves for exportation between 1701-1810. Half of the slaves were exported to South America, 42% to the CaribbeanIslands, 7% to British North America, and 2% to Central America. (The Economics of the African Slave Trade, By Anika Francis, The March Issue of The Vision Online)
The Bight of Biafra was one of the most important sources of enslaved Africans sent to the Americas in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Indeed, the forced transport of considerable numbers of Igbo-speaking slaves and others from the interior of the Bight of Biafra across the Atlantic was a central development in the emergence of relatively cohesive ethnic groups in the African diaspora. Igbo, "Moko", "Bibi" and other ethnic groups have been identified in many parts of the Americas, most especially in Jamaica, the tidewater areas of Maryland and Virginia, and other anglophone colonies. Nonetheless, little research has been undertaken to explore the cultural and historical continuities and disjunctures in this population displacement. Moreover the repercussions of the trans-Atlantic slave trade on the interior of the Bight of Biafra during the period of heaviest population displacement in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries remain poorly understood. (Repercussions of the Atlantic Slave Trade: The Interior of the Bight of Biafra and the African Diaspora. Conference to hosted by His Excellency, Governor Chimaroke Nnamini, Enugu State, Nigeria at the Nike Lake Resort, Enugu, Nigeria, July 10-14, 2000. For additional information, contact: Professor Carolyn Brown, Department of History, RutgersUniversity.)
PROJECTED EXPORTS OF THAT PORTION OF THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH SLAVE TRADE HAVING IDENTIFIABLE REGION OF COAST ORIGIN IN AFRICA, 1711-1810.
Senegambia (Senegal-Gambia)* 5.8%
Sierra Leone 3.4%
WindwardCoast (Ivory Coast)* 12.1%
Gold Coast (Ghana)* 14.4%
Bight of Benin (Nigeria)* 14.5
Bight of Biafra (Nigeria)* 25.1%
Central and Southeast Africa (Cameroon- N.Angola)* 24.7% *
The countries in parentheses are rough approximations to help you find the location on a modern map. "Were these people called by that name during that time in that place?" Excluding some nomadic and semi-nomadic groups.
Please send comments (see web page below) on whether the following groups should be included as a "Ancestral group" of African Americans, and in what region: Fulani, Tuareg, Dialonke, Massina, Dogon, Songhay, Jekri, Jukun, Domaa, Tallensi, Mossi, Nzima, Akwamu, Egba, Fang, and Ge. (Compid by Kwame Bandele from information in P.D. Curtin's book, "Atlantic Slave Trade" p. 221. http://www.panix.com/~mbowen/sf/faq054.htm)
In the 1700s the coasts of West Africa had three main divisions controlled by Europeans in their effort to monopolize the slave trade. The three divisions were SENEGAMBIA, UPPER GUINEA, and LOWER GUINEA. SENEGAMBIA'S two navigable rivers, the Senegal and the Gambia, were controlled by the French and the English, respectively. The West Africans who became slaves from the SENEGAMBIA included the Fula, Wolof, Serer, Felup, and the Mandingo. UPPER GUINEA had a two thousand miles coastline from the Gambia south and east to the Bight of Biafra. This coastline was also designated the WindwardCoast because of the heavy winds on the shore. The West Africans who became slaves from the UPPER GAMBIA included the Baga and Susu from French Guinea, the Chamba from Sierra Leone, the Krumen from the Grain Coast, and the Fanti and the Ashanti from the Gold Coast, commonly referred to today as Ghana. East of the VoltaRiver was the Slave Coast which was so named because the slave trade was at its height there since the African kings (Slattees) permitted Europeans to compete equally for Africans to become slaves. Those West Africans who became slaves from this region included Yoruban, Ewe, Dahoman, Ibo, Ibibio, and the Efik. LOWER GUINEA had fifteen hundred miles of coastline from Calabar to the southern desert. The West Africans who became slaves from this region were all Bantus. The trading of Africans from the West Coast provided an economic boon for the Europeans. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the heinous Middle passage. The trading of Africans from the West Coast produced the African American! (Connections: A Culturally Historical Prospective of West African to African American, by Kelvin Tarrance, Revised: May 3, 1996 http://asu.alasu.edu/academic/advstudies/2b.html)
Slave brokers believed that there were traits of the various African peoples and the preferences of the slave brokers for slaves from specific groups. Colonists always held some view of which tribes produced the most desirable slaves, and this preferred tribal affiliation changed depending on the work and the era. The docile Gold Coast slave was the preferred worker for a while before the Senegambians were elevated to an equal status. The Ashanti were more likely to seek revenge on their oppressor, which put them among the least sought-after tribes. (Margaret Washington's chapter on the Gullahs in Edward Countryman, ed. How Did American Slavery Begin? Boston: St. Martins, 1999. x + 150 pp. Bibliographical references. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-312-21820-6; $11.95 (paper), ISBN 0-312-18261-9. Reviewed for H-Survey by Brian D. McKnight , from H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-Survey@h- net.msu.edu (November, 1999))
Imperial African States that we know about mostly developed along the Sahel ("Corridor") which was the major trade route between East and West Africa. The Sahel "shore" was seen as a "coastline" on the great expanse of the SaharaDesert. (Map found at The Ohio State University Libraries Black Studies Library Website sources given as Ancient African Kingdoms, Margaret Shinnie DT25 .S5 1970. A History of the African People, Robert W. July DT20 .J8 1992, The History Atlas of Africa Samuel Kasule. G2446.S1 K3 1998 http://aaas.ohio-state.edu/)
The African Diaspora Map - I This map is the result of almost 20 years research by Joseph Harris, Distinguished Professor, Department of History, Howard University, Washington. The purpose of the map is to show the general direction of the prinicpal sea routes of Arab, European and American trade in African slaves up to 1873. (Mapping Africa, Africa and the Diaspora Movement, The KennedyCenter African Odyssey)
The study of the African component of slave resistance may appear to be the exception to the general state of slave studies, which has tended to pay more attention to the European influences on the Americas rather than the continuities with African history. Palmares is identified as an "African" kingdom in Brazil; an early and important example of the quilombos and palenques of Latin America which also often revealed a strong African link (See the excellent studies in Richard M. Price, ed., Maroon Societies: Rebel Slave Communities in the Americas, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, 1979); Patterson, "Slavery and Slave Revolts," 289-325.) In Jamaica, enslaved Akan are identified with rebellion and marronage; they are considered responsible for setting the course of cultural development among the maroons. (Monica Schuler, "Akan Slave Rebellions in the British Caribbean", Savacou, 1 (1970), 8-31. Also see Mavis C. Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica, 1655- 1796 (Trenton, N.J., 1990); and Barbara Klamon Kopytoff, "The Development of Jamaican Maroon Ethnicity," Caribbean Quarterly, 22 (1976), 33-50.) Despite the identification of the ethnic factor, however, most studies of slave resistance fail to examine the historical context in Africa from which these rebellious slaves came. Whether or not there were direct links or informal influences that shaped specific acts of resistance simply has not been determined in most cases.
Because the African background has been poorly understood, perhaps, scholars have tended to concentrate on the European influences which shaped the agenda of slave resistance. Eugene Genovese, for example, has argued that there was a fundamental shift in the patterns of resistance by slaves at the end of the eighteenth century, which he correlated with the French Revolution and the destruction of slavery in St. Domingue. (Eugene D. Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World Baton Rouge, 1979). Before the 1790s, according to Genovese, slave resistance tended to draw inspiration from the African past, but the content of that past remains obscure in Genovese's vision. With the spread of revolutionary doctrines in Europe and the Americas, slaves acquired elements of a new ideology that reinforced their resistance to slavery. The process of creolization, which introduced slaves to European thought, brought the actions of slaves more into line with the revolutionary movement emanating from Europe.
Genovese's interpretation further highlights the problem of identifying the impact of African history on the development of the diaspora. Scholars who are not well versed in African history seem to have a cloudy image of the African contribution to resistance and the evolution of slave culture. Perhaps it is to be expected, therefore, that European influence is more easy to recognize than African influence. For Genovese, following the earlier lead of C.L.R. James, (C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, New York, rev. ed., 1963). the French Revolution had such an obvious impact on the St. Domingue uprising that the African dimension is not relevant. As Thornton has demonstrated, however, even the uprising in St. Domingue had its African antecedents, especially the legacy of the Kongo civil war. (John K. Thornton, "`I am the Subject of the King of Congo': African Political Ideology and the Haitian Revolution," Journal of World History, 4:2 (1993), 181-214) Moreover, influences from Africa remained a strong force in the struggle against slavery well after the 1790s, especially in Brazil and Cuba, where there was a continuous infusion of new slaves from Africa, often from places where slaves had been coming for some time. The complex blending of African and European experiences undoubtedly changed over time, but until African history is studied in the diaspora, it will be difficult to weigh the relative importance of the European and African traditions. (The African Diaspora: Revisionist Interpretations of Ethnicity, Culture and Religion under Slavery Paul E. Lovejoy in Studies in the World History of Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation, II, 1 (1997).)
Both images above. Go to URL below to zoom in on detailed and exact locations. During the 1700s when the Atlantic slave trade was flourishing, West Africans accounted for approximately two-thirds of the African captives imported into the Americas. The coastal ports where these Africans were assembled, and from where they were exported, are located on this mid-18th-century map extending from present-day Senegal and Gambia on the northwest to Gabon on the southeast.
This decorated and colored map illustrates the dress, dwellings, and work of some Africans. The map also reflects the international interest in the African trade by the use of Latin, French, and Dutch place names. Many of the ports are identified as being controlled by the English (A for Anglorum), Dutch (H for Holland), Danish (D for Danorum), or French (F).Guinea propia, nec non Nigritiae vel Terrae Nigrorum maxima pars . ..Nuremberg: Homann Hereditors, 1743, Hand-colored, engraved map., Geography and Map Division. (http://international.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart1.html#0101)
Similar map, of West Africa, 1754. (Not displayed here, but click on this URL. Snelgrave voyaged to West Africa as a slaver from 1704 to 1729-30. (Source, William Snelgrave, "A New Map of that Part of Africa called the Coast of Guinea," in Snelgrave, A New Account of Guinea (London, 1754).), (Acknowledgement, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown Univ. (IMAGES OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE Trade, A media database compiled by Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr, Presented by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities)
Another slave route map is Slave Trade Map of Equatorial Afirca as the piece appeared in the English Abolitionist periodical, The Anti Slavery Reporter and Aborigines Friend, Series IV No. 8-9, 1881-1882 (http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/slavemap.htm for details from this map, which shows all of Africa.)
The slave trade from Africa is said to have uprooted as many as 20 million people from their homes and brought them to the Americas. Slavery had existed as a human institution for centuries, but the slaves were usually captives taken in war or members of the lowest class in a society. The black African slave trade, by contrast, was a major economic enterprise. It made the traders rich and brought an abundant labor supply to the islands of the Caribbean and to the American Colonies. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)
The Methodist theologian, John Wesley, described how slaves were generally procured, carried to, and treated in, America. 1. First. In what manner are they procured? Part of them by fraud. Captains of ships, from time to time, have invited Negroes to come on board, and then carried them away. But far more have been procured by force. The Christians, landing upon their coasts, seized as many as they found, men, women, and children, and transported them to America. It was about 1551 that the English began trading to Guinea; at first, for gold and elephants' teeth; but soon after, for men. In 1556, Sir John Hawkins sailed with two ships to CapeVerd, where he sent eighty men on shore to catch Negroes. But the natives flying, they fell farther down, and there set the men on shore, "to burn their towns and take the inhabitants." But they met with such resistance, that they had seven men killed, and took but ten Negroes. So they went still farther down, till, having taken enough, they proceeded to the West Indies and sold them. 2. It was some time before the Europeans found a more compendious way of procuring African slaves, by prevailing upon them to make war upon each other, and to sell their prisoners. Till then they seldom had any wars; but were in general quiet and peaceable. But the white men first taught them drunkenness and avarice, and then hired them to sell one another. Nay, by this means, even their Kings are induced to sell their own subjects. So Mr. Moore, factor of the African Company in 1730, informs us: "When the King of Barsalli wants goods or brandy, he sends to the English Governor at James's Fort, who immediately sends a sloop. Against the time it arrives, he plunders some of his neighbours' towns, selling the people for the goods he wants. At other times he falls upon one of his own towns, and makes bold to sell his own subjects." So Monsieur Brue says, "I wrote to the King," (not the same,) "if he had a sufficient number of slaves, I would treat with him. He seized three hundred of his own people, and sent word he was ready to deliver them for the goods." He adds: "Some of the natives are always ready" (when well paid) "to surprise and carry off their own countrymen. They come at night without noise, and if they find any lone cottage, surround it and carry off all the people." Barbot, another French factor, says, "Many of the slaves sold by the Negroes are prisoners of war, or taken in the incursions they make into their enemies' territories. Others are stolen. Abundance of little Blacks, of both sexes, are stolen away by their neighbours, when found abroad on the road, or in the woods, or else in the corn-fields, at the time of year when their parents keep them there all day to scare away the devouring birds." That their own parents sell them is utterly false: Whites, not Blacks, are without natural affection! (Thoughts Upon Slavery, John Wesley, Published in the year 1774, John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life, 1996 Ruth A. Daugherty)
People have asked why Africans themselves engaged in the slave trade. Given the function of slavery in African societies, the origin of their participation is not too difficult to understand.
First and foremost, slavery was not confused with the notion of superiority and inferiority, a notion later invoked as justification for black slavery in America. On the contrary, it was not at all uncommon for African owners to adopt slave children or to marry slave women, who then became full members of the family. Slaves of talent accumulated property and in some instances reached the status of kings; Jaja of Opobo (in Nigeria) is a case in point. Lacking contact with American slavery, African traders could be expected to assume that the lives of slaves overseas would be as much as they were in Africa; they had no way of knowing that whites in America associated dark colors with sub-human qualities and status, or that they would treat slaves as chattels generation after generation. When Nigeria's Madame Tinubu, herself a slave-trader, discovered the difference between domestic and non-African slavery, she became an abolitionist, actively rejecting what she saw as the corruption of African slavery by the unjust and inhumane habits of its foreign practitioners and by the motivation to make war for profit on the sale of captives. (On Slavery By Femi Akomolafe. 1994, The retrospective history of Africa, Hartford Web Publishing)
The mortality rate among these new slaves ran very high. It is estimated that some five percent died in Africa on the way to the coast, another thirteen percent in transit to the West Indies, and still another thirty percent during the three-month seasoning period in the West Indies. This meant that about fifty percent of those originally captured in Africa died either in transit or while being prepared for servitude. Even this statistic, harsh as it is, does not tell the whole story of the human cost involved in the slave trade. Most slaves were captured in the course of warfare, and many more Africans were killed in the course of this combat. The total number of deaths, then, ran much higher than those killed en route. Many Africans became casualty statistics, directly or indirectly, because of the slave trade. Beyond this, there was the untold human sorrow and misery borne by the friends and relatives of those Africans who were torn away from home and loved ones and were never seen again. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. CHAPTER 2 The Human Market, The Slave Trade)
It was obvious, however, that the victims of the modern slave trade could not be said to have been acquired directly in war. They had been purchased from African rulers who had seized them in raids whose only purpose had been to acquire this valuable human commodity for the insatiable European market. To this, the advocates of the trade replied by claiming that the Africans purchased by the traders had originally been taken prisoner in "just" wars between Africans. The speciousness of this argument was evident from the beginning. But most slavers accepted what they claimed were African assurances that their human merchandise had indeed been "saved" in a just war, on the principle that it is not up to the purchaser to discover if the goods he is buying have been acquired legitimately or not. In this way slavery remained linked, throughout its 300-year history, to internecine African warfare. Thomas seems to imply that Africans, since they were involved in the trade, must take some measure of the blame for it. This can hardly be denied. What Thomas overlooks, though, is the degree to which the European slave trade contributed to the situation from which it benefited. The abolitionists had always been fully aware of the possible impact of the trade upon Africa. "The slave trade," bewailed Granville Sharp, one of the earliest of the English abolitionists, in 1776, "preyed upon the ignorance and brutality of unenlightened nations, who are encouraged to war with each other for this very purpose." The consequences of this for the continent have only just begun to be examined, but there is sufficient evidence to suggest that at least some of the horrors that modern African rulers continue to inflict upon their peoples, and that African states continue to inflict upon one another, can be linked not only to the disastrous process of de-colonization, but also to the long experience of the European slave trade. Modern slavers were faced with a further problem: religion. (Anthony Pagden he Slave Trade, Review of Hugh Thomas' Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade. The New Republic; 12-22-1997)
"I have no hesitation in saying, that three fourths of the slaves sent abroad from Africa are the fruit of native wars, fomented by the avarice and temptation of our own race. I cannot exculpate any commercial nation from this sweeping censure. We stimulate the negro's passions by the introduction of wants and fancies never dreamed of by the simple native, while slavery was an institution of domestic need and comfort alone. But what was once a luxury has now ripened into an absolute necessity; so that MAN, in truth, has become the coin of Africa, and the 'legal tender' of a brutal trade." (Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources./ vol. 18, iss. 3, Mar 1855, New Orleans, The African Slave Trade (pp. 297-305) )
African selling slaves to a European, 19th cent. (?), Source Isabelle Aguet, A Pictorial History of the Slave Trade (Geneva: Editions Minerva, 1971), plate 3, p. 18; from Hull Museums, original source not identified (IMAGES OF THE TRANS-ATLANTIC SLAVE Trade, A media database compiled by Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr, Presented by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities)
. "In 1830, there were 6,152 free Negroes in the District of Columbia compared with 6,152 slaves; in 1840, 8,361 compared with 4,694 slaves; and in 1860, 11,131 compared with only 3,185. Thus is 30 years, the free colored population was nearly doubled, while the slave population was halved. It would be inaccurate to infer from this that there was any wholesale manumission or that the District was haven for free Negroes. The free Negroes were of several classes: Those whose antecedents had never been slaves, such as descendents of indentured servants; those born of free parent, or of free mothers; those manumitted; those who had bought their own freedom, or whose kinsmen had bought it for them; and those who were successful runaways. These free Negroes were an ever present 'Bad example' to the slaves of the District and of the surrounding slave States, and the more they prospered, the 'worse example' they became. Especially stringent regulations affecting free Negroes were added by the District Common Council to the slave codes. Every free Negro was required; (1) to give the mayor 'satisfactory evidence of freedom', plus $50 for himself, and $50 for each member of his family; (2) to post a bond of $1,000 and to secure five white guarantors of good behavior. It was necessary to show manumission papers in order to remain free; even so, gangs bent on kidnapping could and frequently did seize and destroy them. No Negro, slave or free, could testify against whites. The jails were crowded with captured free Negroes and suspected runaways; there were 290 of these in the city jail at one time. Many were sold for prison fees, ostensibly for a fixed period, but really for life. Meetings for any other than fraternal and religious purposes were forbidden. After Nat Turner's insurrection in Virginia in 1831, colored preachers were banned." (Washington, City and Capital, Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, American Guide Series. Washington, 1937, USGPO. P71-2)
"The District of Columbia, too small for slave rearing itself, served as depot for the purchase of interstate traders, who combed Maryland and northern Virginia for slaves. Since the slave jails, colloquially known as 'GeorgiaPotomacPark: and one in the Decatur House, fronting on what is now Lafayette Square. More notorious were McCandless' Tavern in Georgetown; in Washington, Robey's Tavern at Seventh and Maryland Avenue, and Williams' 'Yellow House' at Eighth and B street SW. In Alexandria, the pretentious establishment of Armfield and Franklin, who by 1834 were sending more than a thousand slaves a year to the Southwest, was succeeded and surpassed by the shambles of much-feared Kephart." (Washington, City and Capital, Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, American Guide Series. Washington, 1937, USGPO. p69)
1830 Virginia Census shows the holdings of the Armfield and Franklin slave pen. Their inventory of consisted of predominantly of children and teenagers who would be taken from Virginia and surrounding States and sold to work the Cotton Plantations. Sex and Age for 1830 census for the slave Pen of Armfield and Franklin. 1 male under 10 50 males 10-24 20 males 24—36 4 females under 10 50 females 10-24 20 females 24-36 (1830 DC Census Alexandria page 270)
Franklin and Armfield business dealings depended largely on the agents representing the enterprise, who were scattered throughout slave-holding areas of Maryland and Virginia. In Richmond there was R.C. Ballard & Co.; in Warrenton, Virginia, J.M. Saunders & Co.; in Baltimore, Rockville and Fredericktown, Maryland, George Kephart; in Frederick, Maryland, James Franklin Purvis, nephew of Isaac Franklin; and in Easton, Maryland, Thomas M. Jones (Sweig 1980;8). There eventually were three ships traveling between New Orleans and Alexandria for Franklin and Armfield—the Tribune, the Uncas, and the Isaac Franklin. (The Alexandria Slave Pen: The Archaeology of Urban Captivity, by Janice G. Artemel, Elizabeth A. Crowell and Jeff Parker, October 1987. Engineering-Science, Inc. Washington, DC)
For graphs showing the Age and Sex Selectivity in Slave Export from Virginia see The graph was used "to make a rough estimation of the impact commercial traders made in each subregion. While planters moving entire plantations tended to carry most slaves with them, from infants to older men and women, traders sought out the most marketable--men and women of prime work and child-bearing age. pens", and described by an ex-slave as worse than hog holes, were inadequate for the great demand, the public jails were made use of, accommodations for the criminals having to wait upon the more pressing and lucrative traffic in slaves. There were pens in what is now
1830 John Gadsby was said to live in the Decatur house. The Census for WashingtonCity shows John Gadsby with 38 slaves (1830 Census page 123)
Solomon Nothup, a freed man was kidnapped in WashingtonDC, held in a slave pen and sold into slavery. "It occurred to me then that I must be in an underground apartment, and the damp, moldy odors of the place confirmed the supposition. The noise above continued for at least an hour, when, at last, I heard footsteps approaching from without. A key rattled in the lock - a strong door swung back upon its hinges, admitting a flood of light, and two men entered and stood before me. One of them was a large, powerful man, forty years of age, perhaps, with dark, chestnut-colored hair, slightly interspersed with gray. His face was full, his complexion flush, his features grossly coarse, expressive of nothing but cruelty and cunning. He was about five feet ten inches high, of full habit, and, without prejudice, I must be allowed to say, was a man whose whole appearance was sinister and repugnant. His name was James H. Burch, as I learned afterwards - a well-known slave-dealer in Washington; and then, or lately connected in business, as a partner, with Theophilus Freeman, of New-Orleans. The person who accompanied him was a simple lackey, named Ebenezer Radburn, who acted merely in the capacity of turnkey. Both of these men still live in Washington, or did, at the time of my return through that city from slavery in January last. The light admitted through the open door enabled me to observe the room in which I was confined. It was about twelve feet square - the walls of solid masonry. The floor was of heavy plank. There was one small window, crossed with great iron bars, with an outside shutter, securely fastened. An iron-bound door led into an adjoining cell, or vault, wholly destitute of windows, or any means of admitting light. The furniture of the room in which I was, consisted of the wooden bench on which I sat, an old-fashioned, dirty box stove, and besides these, in either cell, there was neither bed, nor blanket, nor any other thing whatever. The door, through which Burch and Radburn entered, led through a small passage, up a flight of steps into a yard, surrounded by a brick wall ten or twelve feet high, immediately in rear of a building of the same width as itself. The yard extended rearward from the house about thirty feet. In one part of the wall there was a strongly ironed door, opening into a narrow, covered passage, leading along one side of the house into the street. The doom of the colored man, upon whom the door leading out of that narrow passage closed, was sealed. The top of the wall supported one end of a roof, which ascended inwards, forming a kind of open shed. Underneath the roof there was a crazy loft all round, where slaves, if so disposed, might sleep at night, or in inclement weather seek shelter from the storm. It was like a farmer's barnyard in most respects, save it was so constructed that the outside world could never see the human cattle that were herded there. The building to which the yard was attached, was two stories high, fronting on one of the public streets of Washington. Its outside presented only the appearance of a quiet private residence. A stranger looking at it, would never have dreamed of its execrable uses. Strange as it may seem, within plain sight of this same house, looking down from its commanding height upon it, was the Capitol. The voices of patriotic representatives boasting of freedom and equality, and the rattling of the poor slave's chains, almost commingled. A slave pen within the very shadow of the Capitol! Such is a correct description as it was in 1841, of Williams' slave pen in Washington, in one of the cellars of which I found myself so unaccountably confined." (Twelve Years a Slave. Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in WashingtonCity in 1841, and Rescued in 1853.: First published in 1853. Electronic Edition. )
In FairfaxCountyVirginia, a major source of income for residents came from selling or hiring out their excess slaves. Slave markets were run by Joseph Bruin at the West End and by Alexander Grigsby at Centreville. There were frequent slave auctions at the front door of the Fairfax courthouse. Bruin regularly advertised in the Gazette that he offered "cash for Negroes," and that he was "at all times in the market" for "likely young Negroes for the South" pay liberal prices for all Negroes from 10-30 years of age." (Gazettette, 20 March 1944) (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. FairfaxCountyBoard of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 262)
Price, Birch, & Company Slave Pen Duke St., Alexandria, Virginia (William Pywell, 1863; LOC) Before the war a child would sell for about $50.00, a man at $1,000-$1,800 and a woman from $500 to $1,500.00
Franklin and Armfield Office 1315 Duke Street Built in 1812 as a residence for General Andrew Young, this was the office building of the former interstate slave trading complex which stood on the site from 1828 to 1861. By 1835 Franklin and Armfield controlled nearly half the coastal slave trade from Virginia and Maryland to New Orleans. In 1846 the property was sold to a Franklin and Armfield agent, George Kephart, whose business became "the chief slave-dealing firm in [Virginia] and perhaps anywhere along the border between the Free and Slave States." After 1858, the slave pen was known as Price, Birch, and Co., and their sign can be seen in a Civil War era photograph. The business was appalling to many, especially to active abolitionists in Alexandria, where the large Quaker population contributed to a general distaste for slavery. Several abolitionists' accounts survive which describe the slave pen and the conditions encountered therein. Behind the house was a yard containing several structures, surrounded by a high, whitewashed brick wall. Male slaves were located in a yard to the west, while women and children were kept in a yard to the east, separated by a passage and a strong grated door of iron. The complex served as a Civil War prison from 1861 to 1865, and housed the AlexandriaHospital from 1878 to 1885. It was later apartments, and was renovated as offices in 1984. (Office of Historic Alexandria, Alexandria Sites Listed on the National Register of Historic Places )
1830 There were more than 2 million African-American slaves in the U.S. The 1865 Emancipation Proclamation (1863) and Union victory (1865) freed almost 4 million slaves. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
Apparently this last entry offended pro confederate Civil War Web page, they try to argue that Slavery was not that bad. Give up and wind selectively reproducing a good portion of the rest of this chronology. (See Slavery Myths and Facts, Southern Comfort Civil War History http://www.civilwarhistory.com/slavetrade/blackslavery.htm)
1830 United States Census for a John Adams at the same location as John Q. Adams from the 1820 Census located in the 1st Ward of Washington City show; 1 female slave 10-24; 1 free colored males under 10; 1 free colored male 10-24; 1 free colored male24-36; 1 free colored female 10-24; 2 white males 15-20 ; 1 white male 20-30; 1 white female 20-30; 2 white males 20-30; 1 white male 60-70, 2 white females under 5; 1 white female 20-30; 1 white female 30-40; (1830 DC Census, Second Entry page 58)
1830-1860 Abolitionists, in U.S. history, especially from 1830 to 1860, advocates of the compulsory emancipation of African-American slaves. Abolitionists are to be distinguished from free-soilers, who opposed the extension of slavery. The active campaign had its mainspring in the revival (1820s) in the North of evangelical religion, with its moral urgency to end sinful practices. It reached crusading stage in the 1830s, led by Theodore D. Weld, the brothers Arthur and Lewis Tappan, and William Lloyd Garrison. The American Anti-Slavery Society, established in 1833, flooded the slave states with abolitionist literature and lobbied in Washington, D.C. Writers like J.G. Whittier and orators such as Wendell Phillips lent strength to the cause. Despite unanimity on their goal, abolitionists were divided over the method of achieving it, Garrison advocating moral suasion, others direct political action. Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet B. Stowe, became an effective piece of abolitionist propaganda, and the KANSAS question aroused both North and South. The culminating act of abolitionism was John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. Abolitionist demands for immediate freeing of the slaves after the outbreak of the Civil War resulted in Pres. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. The abolitionist movement was one of high moral purpose and courage; its uncompromising temper hastened the demise of slavery in the U.S.(The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
Theodore Weld's American Slavery As It Is (1839), which cataloged horror stories about slavery drawn entirely from accounts in the Southern press, was an instant best seller and touched a raw moral nerve in the country. Harriet Beecher Stowe, scion of America's most distinguished religious family, used Uncle Tom's Cabin, a sentimental novel with explicit Christian lessons, to rivet the nation's attention to the institutional evils of slavery.
Theodore Weld. reared in a strict Calvinistic manse, was a protege of Charles Finney and studied at Lane Seminary (at which Lyman Beecher was president), where he was part a group that styled itself the "Illuminati". Weld's early reform passions were for education and abolitionism. He became a women's rights advocate after his marriage to Angelina Grimke, a Quaker feminist. (The Welds helped promote reforms like "bloomers" - progressive women's attire in the 19th century). His book American Slavery sold 100,000 copies in its first year and, in becoming an anti-slavery classic, made Weld the nation's leading abolitionist spokesman. His wife, however, pursued a different track, latching onto the millennialism of William Miller, who predicted Christ's imminent return in 1843. The Welds eventually drifted into spiritualism, Swedenborgianism, and Transcendentalism. After struggling with a son's insanity and suicide, and trying his hand at organic vegetable farming and teaching at a Utopian commune, Weld finally became a Unitarian. His life personifies Ephesians 4:14. (31. On Weld, see Robert Abzug, Passionate Liberator: Theodore Dwight Weld and the Dilemma of Reform (N.Y. Oxford, 1980). Weld's heterodox tendencies evidently began early. After asking his preacher-father a series of challenging questions, the senior Weld told the boy: "Shut your mouth, you little infidel!" (cited by Roger Schultz by Contra Mundum, No. 4 Summer 1992 Politics of Righteousness: Christian Political Movements in the Early 19th Century, )
Abolitionists were just as confused about the means they should use. Some endorsed immediate abolition, using violence if necessary. Others were committed to peaceful means and gradual emancipation. Some, such as the American Anti-Slavery Society, were simply committed to ending slavery. Still others, such as the American Colonization Society, driven by fears of post-emancipation racial tensions, wanted liberated slaves resettled in Africa. While some stressed abolition throughout the United States, others focused on preventing the spread of slavery into the territories. (Summer 1992 Politics of Righteousness: Christian Political Movements in the Early 19th Century)
Plantation Mission Movement 1830-1) Methodist chapels were constructed on many plantations ,As many as 1000 slaves lived on some plantations with little contact with the outside or with whites, other than the overseers. Many plantation slaves attended the chapels when a Methodist circuit -riding preacher came by. Baptists also made many converts. (a) Many blacks were permitted to become preachers because Baptists had no educational requirement for the ministry. (b) The role of minister was one of the only leadership roles available to blacks. (c) Besides the fact that the Baptists were a major group in the South, many of the Baptist institutions, such as the Baptismal service by immersion, or communion service (taken at the same time and not row by row), were attractive to blacks, even reminding some of similar practices held among African tribes. Separate Southern black denominations did not emerge until the post-Civil War (Growth of the Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
In Ward Three the Census recorded 75 people in the infirmary none were slave or "free colored. (1830 DC Census 3rd Ward page 95)
George W P Custis Listed in Georgetown with 57 Slaves and next to him is Alexander Hunter with 22 (1830 DC Census page 217)
George Washington Parke Custis, Colonel, United States Army, Arlington House Builder, Born at Mount Airy, Maryland, on April 30, 1781, his parents were John Parke and Eleanor (Calvert) Custis. He attended St. John'sCollege and PrincetonUniversity. He married Mary Lee Fitzhugh in 1804 and they had one daughter, Mary (later Mrs. Robert E. Lee). He was commissioned Colonel, United States Army, and aide-de-camp to General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney in 1799 and was a volunteer in the defense of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812. He began as series of "Recollections of Washington" in the U.S. Gazette in 1826, and continued in the National Intelligencer, and published in book form in 1860. His first play, The Indian Prophecy, was performed in the Chestnut Street Theater, Philadelphia, in 1830. He also wrote: The Railroad, 1830; North Point of Baltimore Defended, 1833; Eighth of January, 1834. He was the adopted son of George Washington after the death of his parents. He built Arlington House as a tribute to, and to hold the belongings of, General George Washington. He died on October 19, 1852 and was buried in a private lot on the estate (long before it became a NationalCemetery), which is now Section 13 of Arlington National Cemetery. His wife, Mary Fitzhugh Custis, who died on April 23, 1853, is buried with him. (Arlington House Web Page)
1830/05/24 The first division of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is completed May 24 to link Baltimore with Ellicott Mills, 13 miles away. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1830 Smithsonian Report reads, "When (Adams) first takes seat in Congress he presents fifteen petitions signed numerously by citizens of Pennsylvania, praying for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia... That he had always cherished an abhorrence of slavery and a bitter antipathy to slave-holders as a class is sufficiently indicated by many chance remarks scattered through his Dairy and early years. (John T. Morse, jr., Book of John Quincy Adams, Mifflin, 1882)(Commentary in study "John Quincy Adams was against the principle and practice of slavery therefore making it unlikely that he would have tolerated slaves at the Columbia Mills." Cynthia Field: 1998 Smithsonian Study)
John Quincy Adams was presented with fifteen petitions from citizens of Pennsylvania asking for the abolition of slavery and especially slavery in the District, "he did not think its abolition there desirable," and said, "he hoped the subject would not be discussed in the House." He thought that "the citizens of Pennsylvania ought not petition in regard to the matter in the District of Columbia. It would lead to ill-will, heart-burning and mutual hatred." (Tremain, Mary. Slavery in the District of Columbia. The Policy of Congress and the Struggle for Abolition. Nebraska State University, cited in Milburn, Page. The Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia. Records of the Columbia Society, Vol. 16 page98-99)
John Quincy Adams came to the House in 1830 and presented antislavery petition that first year. He acted here only because his Massachusetts constituents asked him to do so. Initially, he thought no more of the abolitionists' work as Congressmen than he had as president. I could only bring the country "to ill-will. To heartburning mutual hatred without accomplishing anything else. (Nye, Fettered Freedom, 48 in Piano p 33) When petitions calling for abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia deluged Congress in 1836, however, Adams had to pick a side, Southerners again raised the stakes by pushing a gag rule through the House requiring the tabling of such petitions. (They were not printed, referred to committee, or debated.) While Jackson stood with the South, Adams stood with the abolitionists and eventually made even Negrophobes in the North see that slavery eroded everyone's civil liberties. He did so by demonstrating the price that the gag-rule advocates were demanding: To protect slavery every American had to suffer the right to petition their government, a right guaranteed in the Constitution's First Amendment. (Nixon's Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton, Kenneth O'Reilly, NY, Free Press 1995)
1830 Census lists 40 slaves to Charles C Lackland and William O'neal (manager) Seems like a labor pool with many free whites and "coloreds" 200 total.. (1830 Census page 201 WashingtonCounty)
1831/01 William Lloyd Garrison began abolitionist newspaper The Liberator. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1995 from MS Bookshelf)
1831 Benjamin Lundy, a Quaker begins Washington’s first antislavery newspaper, The Genius of Universal Emancipation. (Melder, Keith, City of Magnificent Intentions. A History of the District of Columbia, 1983). Lundy and the Quaker abolitionists inspired more militant abolitionists like William Lloyd Garison, publisher of the of the Liberator. Garrison denounced both colonization and gradualism and called for immediate abolition. In 1833 founded the American Anti-Slavery Society. (From Events hat Changed American in the Nineteenth Century, edited by John E. Findling and Frank W. Thackeray.1997)
In the 1830s, those few Americans who actively sought to abolish slavery were treated as a lunatic fringe. As William Lee Miller points out in this often riveting story of the nation's first great political battle over the servitude of African-Americans, slavery was an interest, "concentrated, persistent, practical, and testily defensive," while antislavery was a mere sentiment, "diffuse, sporadic, moralistic and tentative." Spurred by the Christian evangelical fervor of the era, abolitionism was just beginning to coalesce from a set of privately held beliefs into a political movement that generated a growing stream of books, pamphlets-and petitions. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)
In 1829 Garrison entered into partnership with the American antislavery agitator Benjamin Lundy to publish a monthly periodical, The Genius of Universal Emancipation, in Baltimore, Maryland. Lundy believed in gradual emancipation, and Garrison at first shared his views; but he soon became convinced that immediate and complete emancipation was necessary. Because Baltimore was then a center of the domestic slave trade in the U.S., Garrison's eloquent denunciations of the trade aroused great animosity. A slave trader sued him for libel; he was fined, and, lacking funds to pay the fine, was jailed. After his release from prison Garrison dissolved his partnership with Lundy and returned to New England. In partnership with another American abolitionist, Isaac Knapp, Garrison launched The Liberator in Boston in 1831; the newspaper became one of the most influential journals in the United States. (Garrison, William Lloyd," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
1831/01/01 The Liberator begins publication January 1 at Boston where local abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, 26, advocates emancipation of the slaves who account for nearly one-third of the U.S. population. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1831 Virginia, Thomas Dew, a legislator, proudly refers to Virginia as a Negro-raising state" for other states. Between 1830 and 1860, Virginia exports some 300,000 slaves. The price of slaves increases sharply due to expanding territory in which slaves are permitted and a booming economy in products harvested and processed by slave labor. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing)
1831/08 Nat Turner slave rebellion in SouthamptoncountyVirginia.
Turner, Nat, 1800–1831, African-American slave and revolutionary; b. Southampton co., Va. Believing himself divinely appointed to lead his fellow slaves to freedom, he commanded about 60 followers in a revolt (1831) that killed 55 whites. Although the so-called Southampton Insurrection was quickly crushed and Turner was caught and hanged six weeks later, it was the most serious uprising in the history of U.S. slavery and virtually ended the organized abolition movement in the South. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.) For the extraordinary transcript of Nat Turners Testimony see excerpts from Nat Turner's Trial <http://vi.uh.edu/pages/mintz/32.htm also see http://www.melanet.com/nat/nat.html and http://odur.let.rug.nl/~usa/D/1826-1850/slavery/confesxx.htm)
Nat Turner revolt, Southampton County, Va., August 21-22. Some 60 whites were killed. Nat Turner was not captured until October 30. Nat Turner was hanged, Jerusalem, Va., Nov. 11. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower, http://www.afroam.org/history/slavery/revolts.html)
The bloodiest insurrection of all, in which some sixty whites were murdered, occurred in Southampton County, Virginia, in August, 1831. Nat Turner, its leader, besides being a skilled carpenter, was a literate, mystical preacher. He had discovered particular relevance in the prophets of the Old Testament. Besides identifying with the slave experience of the Israelites, Turner and other slaves felt that the social righteousness which the prophets preached related directly to their situation. The picture of the Lord exercising vengeance against the oppressors gave them hope and inspiration. While the Bible did appear to tell the slave to be faithful and obedient to his master, it also condemned the wicked and provided examples that could be interpreted to prove God's willingness to use human instruments in order to bring justice against oppressors. Turner's growing hatred of slavery and his increasing concern for the plight of his brothers, led him to believe he was one of God's chosen instruments. As his conviction deepened, the solar eclipse early in 1831 appeared to him to be a sign that the day of vengeance was at hand. In the following months he collected a small band of followers, and in August they went into action. Unlike Prosser and Vesey, he began with only a very small band which lessened his chance of betrayal. As they moved from farm to farm, slaughtering the white inhabitants, they were joined by many of the slaves who were freed in the process. However, word of the massacre spread. At one farm, they were met by armed resistance. Slaves as well as masters fought fiercely to stop the attack. Some of Turner's men were killed and wounded, and the planned drive towards Jerusalem was thrown off stride. This enabled the militia to arrive and break up the attack. In due time Turner and several of his followers were captured and executed. White men in both the South and the North saw little similarity between these insurrections and the American Revolution. The Turner massacre was universally depicted as the work of savages and brutes, not of men. Vigilance was tightened, and new laws controlling the slaves were passed throughout the South. Both the violence of the slaves and the verbal abuse of the abolitionists only served to strengthen the South in its defense of the peculiar institution. Slaves who revolted were depicted as beasts who could not be freed because they would endanger society. Submissive slaves were pictured as children in need of paternal protection from the evils of a complex, modern world. They were never seen as men whose rights and liberties had been proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, Slave Insurrections)
The Washington City Council reacted by making the Black Codes harsher: A black man who struck a white person was now subject to having his ears cut off. (P 82 Melder, Keith. Slaves and Freedmen Wilson Quarterly 1989 13(1) 77-83)
The corporation of Georgetown enact an ordinance for the regulation including the offense of the possession of abolitionist information including the Liberator. (p142 Bryan, Wilhelmus Bogart. The History of the National Capital. Vol. II 1815-1878. Macmillan 1916 GW lib)
The slave insurrection in cased a bitter reaction in Maryland. The Maryland General Assembly took up the policy of colonization free blacks in Liberia in legislation passed that autumn of 1831, providing an annual appropriation to the Maryland State Colonization Society. At the same time, the Assembly prohibited any further importation of slaves into the state. There was already a statute on the books prohibiting free blacks from other states settling in Maryland. This act of 1807 was given more serious penalties in 1831, and made still more stringent in 1839. The District of Columbia afforded a loophole in the law until 1845, when, on complaint of Montgomery and Prince George's residents, a special act was passed to forbid blacks from crossing the District line to settle. (Jeffrey R. Brackett, The Negro in Maryland, A Study of the Institution of Slavery) (New York, reprint by Negro University Press, 1969 and James M. Wright, The Free Negro in Maryland 1634-1860, NY, Octagon Books 1971, reprint of 1921 ed. Cited in Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 156-157)
The Maryland General Assembly forbid free black citizens to buy liquor, own guns, sell food without a license, or even attend religious meetings if there wee no whites present. This last provision struck a crippling blow a the independent black church, the only real institution that the black community had been able to develop during its enslavement. (Lawrence H. McDonald, "Failure of the Great Reaction in Maryland" Ph.D. dissertation, University of Maryland, 1974), Appendix VI, cited in Richard K McAlester and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 157)
Maryland further discouraged slave owners from manumitting their slaves by requiring them to send the free person out of the state. (Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976 p 157)
The Maryland State Colonization Society established a settlement at CapePalmas, some miles south of the major Liberian colony at Monrovia. It made a determined effort to recruit free black settlers from Maryland. Black Marylanders identified the colonization movement with a desire to remove the free blacks from the state lest they encourage restiveness among the slaves. They saw it generally committed to the preservation of slavery and inequality of free black citizens. Very few Marylanders were willing to leave their homes for n uncertain future in Africa. (Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976. P 157)
With regard to the Nat Turner revolt, "It is difficult to decide with certainty whether it occurred as a reaction to the harshness of slave rule or as a result of the weakness of control." (Michael Craton, Sinews of Empire, A Short History of British Slavery, Anchor Books NY., 1974 p 227)
Turner, Nat b. Oct. 2, 1800, Southampton county, Va., U.S.--d. Nov. 11, 1831, Jerusalem, Va.), black American bondsman who led the only effective, sustained slave revolt (August 1831) in U.S. history. Spreading terror throughout the white South, his action set off a new wave of oppressive legislation prohibiting the education, movement, and assembly of slaves and stiffened proslavery, antiabolitionist convictions that persisted in that region until the American Civil War (1861-65). (On-Line African American History Reference)
Nat Turner's rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, in the summer of 1831, threw the slaveholding South into a panic, and into a determined effort to bolster the security of the slave system. Turner, claiming religious visions, gathered about seventy slaves who went on a rampage from plantation to plantation, murdering at least fifty-five men, women, and children. They gathered supporters but were captured as their ammunition ran out. Turner and perhaps eighteen others were hanged.(Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower,)
Soon after the Nat Turner Rebellion, the General Assembly of Virginia, convened in 1831 to hear Governor John Floyd's annual message, which urged the Assembly to address the current crisis so as to quell the fears of the citizens and to restore order and safety to the Commonwealth. His address called for funds for the removal of free blacks from Virginia and for the houses to discuss what further action should be taken. As a result of Governor Floyd's address, a special committee was formed by the speaker of the House of Delegates to discuss the revolt of the past summer and present the house with possible solutions to the problem. The first week of the assembly saw numerous proposals for the colonization of free blacks and on December 14, William Henry Roane of Hanover presented a petition from the Society of Friends which proposed the abolition of slavery through the gradual colonization of slave in Africa. This proposal sparked intense debate between the members of the house and divided Tidewater delegates and those from the heavily agricultural "southside" of the James River. On January 11, 1832, Piedmont Delegate William O. Goode, a southsider, argued that debate on emancipation placed all of Virginia in grave danger because of the threat posed by blacks watching the actions of the Assembly. He proposed a resolution to table discussion for the safety of the Commonwealth. A counter-resolution was proposed by western Piedmont delegate Thomas Jefferson Randolph proposing a state-wide referendum on gradual emancipation so that the people of Virginia could decide the issue rather than the members of the Assembly, who held a disproportionate stake in the institution of slavery. If the majority of the citizens were for abolition, the process would begin with all slaves born on or after July 4, 1840, becoming the property of the Commonwealth. They would be hired out by the state until enough money had been raised to provide for their removal from the country. The session closed with the passage of a statement supporting the exploration of possible colonizing of slaves. That mood would change by the next fall, a result in large part of the essay on slavery published by William and Mary professor Thomas R. Dew at the close of the 1831-32 session. (Corey McLellan, The Debate in the 1831-32 Virginia General Assembly on the Abolition of Slavery, The University of Virginia.)
Dew attacked the plan, which called for all slaves to become property of the VirginiaCommonwealth after July 4, 1840-- males at twenty-one, females at eighteen. This proposal, according to Dew, was a violation of property rights to slave owners and could never be accomplished because of the expense involved. Dew went on to the Biblical argument for slavery. He emphasized that nowhere does Scripture tag slavery as a sin, and that there is no command to abolish it. From the Biblical argument for slavery, Dew moved on to the historical one, pointing that slavery had existed continuously since the beginnings of recorded human history. Dew's arguments were the key factor in closing the door to emancipation in Virginia until the Civil War. (Thomas Dew's Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature of 1831- 1832)
James Hamilton, the governor of South Carolina, requested that Virginia governor John Floyd discuss the factors that led to the Nat Turner revolt in Southampton, Virginia in 1831, the most well known slave revolt in U.S.(Library of Congress, African American Odyssey, Slavery--The Peculiar Institution) history. About sixty white people were killed. Governor Floyd's lengthy reply is in this letter. Floyd blamed the "spirit of insubordination" on the "Yankee population" in general and Yankee peddlers and traders in particular who shared Christianity with the slaves and taught them that all are born free and equal, and "that white people rebelled against England to obtain freedom, so have blacks a right to do." Floyd placed the blame for masterminding the plan on the church leaders, but he believed that all the discussions about freedom and equality led to the uprising.
1831/09 At a dinner in Boston, Alexis de Tocqueville, a young French magistrate who would go back home to write his classic book "Democracy in America," was seated next to former President John Quincy Adams and asked the old man: "Do you look on slavery as a great plague for the United States?" "Yes, certainly," Adams answered. "That is the root of almost all the troubles of the present and the fears for the future." ("Black justice, white cynicism," Byline: Richard Reeves; Universal Press Syndicate in The BaltimoreSun, October 5, 1995)
1831/12/05 John Quincy Adams became a member of the First session of the twenty second Congress of the House of Representative from a district in Massachusetts.
Adams returns to Washington. "The issue of slavery was not, at this time, neatly defined and categorized in the minds of Louisa and John Quincy Adams, they did not abhor it with all their souls, as the abolitionists did. Nor were they ready to commit themselves without hesitation to its demise. "The Adams’s, as residents of Washington, saw slaves around them all the time. There were few free blacks, and it was common practice for householders to employ slaves as servants; a few lucky and hard-working slaves were even allowed to buy their own freedom in this manner. While the Adams’s never owned a slave, they frequently hired one or two from slaveholders, usually residents of Maryland or Virginia, as cooks or house servants. Such employment did not conflict, as we shall see with Louisa's or John Quincy’s position on slavery (337) Louisa, as a resident of Washington with relatives in Maryland, feared retribution of the slaves, and the surliness of the free blacks. Adams put the preservation of the union before slavery. (Shepherd, Jack; Cannibals of the Heart, 1980)
1831 At the start of each session of Congress, on Petition Days, the number of "prayers" to ban slavery in the nation's capital had been increasing since William Lloyd Garrison launched his abolitionist newspaper, The Liberator, in 1831. That event coincided with the bloody Nat Turner slave rebellion in Virginia and the introduction of the steam printing press in New York City, where abolitionists began to print thousands of antislavery tracts and mail them South for distribution. Southern postmasters, prompted by pre-Ku Klux Klan vigilantes, began seizing and burning abolitionist material, and death threats were made against abolitionist visitors to the South. (Willard Sterne Randall, Newsday, January 28, 1996, p 33)
1831 In the United States, the notion that slavery was God's will gained momentum after the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831. In hundreds of pamphlets, written from 1836 to 1866, Southern slaveholders were provided a host of religious reasons to justify the social caste system they had created. In their quest to justify black slavery, Southerners looked to the story of Noah's curse over his son Ham. According to Genesis 9, Noah planted a vineyard, drank too much wine and lay naked in his tent. When he awoke, Noah learned that his son Ham had seen him naked - a shame in the ancient world. He cursed Ham and his son, Canaan, saying, "lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers," . Since Canaan and his descendants were said to settle Africa, some believed African-Americans therefore were destined to be slaves. According to Dale Martin, a professor of religion at DukeUniversity. (Bible neither condemns nor condones slavery, News & Observer on the Web, Raleigh NC: August 9th 1996))
1831 B & O Railroad between Georgetown and the Ellicott Mills running and generating modest income. (Walsh, Richard and Fox, William Lloyd. Maryland, A History 1632-1974. Maryland Historical Society)
1832 In January of 1832, while President Andrew Jackson was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate had rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England. Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "By the Eternal! I'll smash them!" So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice President, and succeeded to the Presidency when "Old Hickory" retired to the Hermitage, where he died in June 1845. (Andrew Jackson White House Bio)
1832 In the wake of the Nat Turner’s insurrection in Virginia, Georgetown strengthened its black code punishing with particular severity any person of color possessing abolitionist literature. (Slavery and the Slave Trade in the District of Columbia, The Negro History Bulletin, Oct 1950, Springharm Library, Howard University Vertical File Washington, DC)
1832 An act to abolish slavery was introduced into the Virginia legislature by Thomas Jefferson’s grandson and was defeated by only seven votes. ("Virginia," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
1832/12 Jackson reelected will serve till Mar 1833 and Martin Van Buren , 1833-37.In 1832 the Anti-Masonic Party nominated a lawyer, William Wirt, as its candidate for the presidency, but he was defeated by Andrew Jackson, who supported Masonry. Ironically, Wirt himself was a Mason. After that date the Freemasons encountered little political opposition in the U.S. or elsewhere, until the rise to power of the National Socialists in Germany in 1933.
Opponents of Freemasonry, including sections of the press, churches, and antislavery elements, joined in the condemnation of the order. Thurlow Weed, publisher of the Rochester (New York) Telegraph and later of the Anti-Masonic Enquirer, led the press attack on Freemasonry and endorsed anti-Masonic candidates for New YorkState offices in the election of 1827. When 15 of these candidates were elected to the state Assembly, an Anti-Masonic Party was formed and in 1828 held its first state convention. National conventions were held in Philadelphia in 1830 and in Baltimore in 1831. At the latter, William Wirt, who had served as U.S. attorney general under Presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, was nominated for president in opposition to Andrew Jackson, who supported Masonry. Wirt himself was a Freemason. The convention required a three-fourths majority to nominate, thereby setting a precedent for the two-thirds rule used by the Democrats in subsequent national conventions for more than 100 years. In the 1832 elections, however, the Anti-Masonic Party carried only the state of Vermont. It did win a considerable number of seats in the 23rd Congress (1833-35). The party survived until about 1834, when several prominent leaders founded the Whig Party or shifted to the Democratic Party. (Anti-Masonic Party," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997)(For antimasonic literature see John Quincy Adams, Letters On The Masonic Institution Originally Published: 1847 T. R. Marvin Boston, Massachusetts and in general http://www.crocker.com/~acacia/antim.html)
1833 The Anti-Slavery Convention of 1833 held. A list of officers of the new society was then chosen: Arthur Tappan, of New York, president, and Elizur Wright, Jr., William Lloyd Garrison, and A. L. Cox, secretaries. Among the vice-presidents was Dr. Lord, of DartmouthCollege, then professedly in favor of emancipation, but who afterwards turned a moral somersault, a self-inversion which left him ever after on his head instead of his feet. He became a querulous advocate of slavery as a divine institution, and denounced woe upon the abolitionists for interfering with the will and purpose of the Creator. ( Published originally in John G. Whittier's "Prose Works," the following is an excerpt from Whittier's recollection of the founding convention of the American Anti-Slavery Society.John G. Whittier, "The Anti-Slavery Convention of 1833," 1874.)
1833 Monocracy Aqueduct built in 1833 as part of the Chesapeake and OhioCanal (C & OCanal) system, it carried canal boats above the MonocacyRiver. It is one of ten such structures that still stand along the 185-mile stretch of the canal that extends from Cumberland, MD to Washington, DC. The 430-foot long aqueduct is composed of seven arches, built with white stone from nearby Sugarloaf Mountain, and is considered one of the finest examples of early civil engineering. (Press release of Senator Mikulski June 15, 1998 naming Monocracy Aqueduct, one of "America's Most Endangered Historic Sites" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Press release titled "Senator Mikulski Joins First Lady Hillary At Monocacy Aqueduct, Named One Of America's Most Endangered Historic Places")
In the days before the railroads, the Chesapeake and OhioCanal was designed to bypass the rapids of the Potomac River and move goods cheaply and efficiently from the Chesapeake Bay to the Ohio River. According to one expert, the construction of the C&OCanal was "a typical American heroic enterprise."
Along the way, a series of challenges faced engineers, including how to carry barges across the 11 major intersecting tributaries that drain into the Potomac River. The solution was a system of aqueducts.
At Mile 42, workers constructed the largest -- the Monocacy Aqueduct. Essentially a 516-foot bridge over the river, the aqueduct carried the canal in a flume-like trough supported by seven graceful arches. Mules dragging the barges walked along a towpath by the canal. The Monocacy Aqueduct is now considered to be one of the finest canal structures in the United States.
Hundreds of manual laborers, many of them Irish and Welsh immigrants, hauled heavy stone blocks from nearby SugarLoafMountain to build the aqueduct, which took five years to complete. During the Civil War, Confederate troops tried to dynamite it to stop the movement of Northern soldiers, but they were unable to penetrate the dense stone. (Talking It Over by Hillary Rodham Clinton, June 17, 1998 )
1833 Slavery abolished in Canada. See also the Upper Canada for 1791 and 1818.
1834/0129 Workers along the Chesapeake and OhioCanal (C & OCanal) stage a riot January 29. President Jackson orders Secretary of War Lewis Cass to send in the Army, using federal troops for the first time in a U.S. labor conflict. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1834 Parliament orders abolition of slavery in the British colonies by August 1, 1834, in a bill passed August 23 after a long campaign by the humanitarian William Wilberforce who has died July 29 at age 73. Children under 6 are to be freed immediately, slaves over 6 given a period of apprenticeship that will be eliminated in 1837, slave-owners given a total of £120 million in compensation. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
1835 "A Colonization minded parson investigating a slave depot in Washington in 1835 consciously recorded that the premises were as clean and orderly as those of the District's penitentiary, which he had visited a few days before, but "the situation of the convicts at the penitentiary was far less deplorable than that of these slaves. Confined for the crime of being descended from ancestors who were forcibly reduced to bondage." (J.C. Furnas, Goodbye to Uncle Tom, William Sloane Associates, NY, 1956 p69)
1835/08 Riots touched off by discovery of abolitionist literature among specimens of Dr. Reuben Crandall a botanist when an angry crowd of Navy Yard workers descend on the Washington County Jail where he was held. The mob was coursed out by a free Negro Beverly Snow who said some derogatory things about their wives. The crowd immediately surged towards Snow's tavern and, although they failed to lay their hands on Snow himself, they proceeded to wreck his establishment. Riots lasted for two days and three nights, smashing the windows of Negro churches and school, and homes. Drastic legislation would follow restricting the rights of free Negroes. (Dorothy Sproles Provine, The Free Negro In the District of Columbia 1800-1860, Thesis Louisiana State University Department of History, 1959, 1963)
In 1835 a slave reputedly attempted to murder Mrs. William Thornton, the widow of the architect of the Capitol, and passions were inflamed because it was thought that this abortive action was inspired by abolitionist sentiments. The resulting mob behavior was intended to intimidate free Negroes in the city. A Negro school and some tenements were destroyed, churches were attacked, and the furnishings were smashed in the fashionable Beverly Snow restaurant owned by a free Negro of that name. The School was set up by John f. Cook, a shoemaker in 1834.
Snow Riot leads to formation of National Guard and Washington Light Infantry Company. By 1838, citizen patrols established. (Wilkelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital from its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, (NY: Macmillan Co. 1916, II 147-148. Cited by Dolores T. Williams, Preliminary Checklist of Non-Official Imprints for the District of Columbia, 1836-37, with a Historical Introduction)
Between the 1820s and 1840s mob violence in the North and West came to be identified with lower class white attacks, fueled by racism and economic competition, on the increasingly visible urban black community. As blacks began organizing in earnest to claim their rights as Americans, white mob violence was used to restrict their ability to make political statements in the public sphere. Old traditions like Election Day and Pinkster celebrations were banned, black parades were frequent targets of mob attacks, and the representation of black culture in public was largely controlled by whites in blackface perpetuating the degrading stereotypes of the minstrel show. (James Oliver Horton and Lois E. Horton. _In Hope of Liberty: Culture, Community and Protest Among Northern Free Blacks, 1700-1860_. New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1997. Reviewed for H-Shear by Mitch Kachun, in Slavery@Listserv.uh.edu., Thu, 21 May 1998)
This was a time when European immigrants were pouring into the North. Many of these people had faced discrimination and hardship in their native countries. But in America they found their rights expanding rapidly. They had entered a country in which they were part of a privileged category called "white." Classism and ethnic prejudices did exist among white Americans and had a tremendous impact on people's lives. But the bottom line was that for white people in America, no matter how poor or degraded they were, they knew there was a class of people below them. Poor whites were considered superior to blacks, and to Indians as well, simply by virtue of being white. Because of this, most identified with the rest of the white race and defended the institution of slavery. Working class whites did this even though slavery did not benefit them directly and was in many ways against their best interests. (Public Broadcasting Service Resource Bank. Race-based legislation in the North 1807 – 1850)
1835 -- represented a "crest of rioting in the United States." Anti-abolitionist riots in the North erupted. The abolitionist mail campaign triggered riots in Charleston and other Southern towns. The work of vigilantes in MississippiVicksburg gamblers, this, "inaugurated" America's most mob-filled year. The example for this mayhem, was set by the "slave-driving aristocrat" in the White House. Andrew Jackson's treatment of African and Native Americans, his war against the Bank, his contempt for the traditional political establishment, and his lack of respect for the law--all set a violent example for other Americans to follow, and they did so by going to the streets. Jackson, "was in public life a general, a man trained to act in terms of friends and foes, victories and defeats, rather than in terms of political and diplomatic courtesy and compromise." Jackson was a "bravely determined man certainly, but one who paid little heed to process or legality if they stood in the way of what he thought desirable" (p. 5). Thus Jackson and his movement was the wellspring of violence. (H-NET BOOK REVIEW Published by H-CivWar@h-net.msu.edu (February 1999) David Grimsted. _American Mobbing, 1828-1861: Toward the Civil War_. New York and Oxford, England: OxfordUniversity Press, 1998. xviii + 372 pp. Notes and index. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-19-511707-7. Reviewed for H-CivWar by James M. Denham , Department of History, Florida Southern College) responding to the Murrell slave-stealing conspiracy and the
Between 1820 and 1850, Northern blacks also became the frequent targets of mob violence. Whites looted, tore down, and burned black homes, churches, schools, and meeting halls. They stoned, beat, and sometimes murdered blacks. Philadelphia was the site of the worst and most frequent mob violence. City officials there generally refused to protect African Americans from white mobs and blamed blacks for inciting the violence with their "uppity" behavior. (Public Broadcasting Service Resource Bank. Race-based legislation in the North 1807 – 1850)
1835/12/16 Congressman John Fairfield of York County, Maine, stood up on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and presented a petition signed by 172 women calling for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. (Willard Sterne Randall, Newsday, January 28, 1996, p 33)
1835/12/28 Seminoles and their African Americans massacre a 103-man U.S. Army force under Major Francis L. Dade in Florida. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
An examination of Alexis de Tocqueville's thesis on the march of Russia and the United States to manifest destiny in the first half of the 19th century. Assesses first the impact of the age of democratic revolution, comparing the false images of President Andrew Jackson and Czar Nicholas I. Goes on to discuss abolitionism (of Negro slavery and serfdom) and expansionism (the Monroe Doctrine and Russophobia in Eastern Europe and Central Asia). Urbanization and the industrial revolution in the United States, and the growth of cultural maturity in Russia, were significant developments which limit the extent to which one can compare the experiences of these two emergent nations. Based on the author's forthcoming book, The Emergence of the Super-Powers; illus. (Dukes, Paul. Two Great Nations, 1815-50. Journal citation: History Today [Great Britain] 1970 20(2): 94-106.)
1836/10/29 [In Washington, DC], To prove they were free, blacks had to carry identity papers. Free blacks needed permission to have a meeting or party in their house. They could not go on the streets after without a pass. In 1836, the city, by denying licenses to blacks, tried to run them out of most businesses. (Bob Arnebeck A Shameful Heritage, Washington Post Magazine January 18, 1889, also see Washington Ordinances of October 29, 1836 and November 9, 1836)
1836 In Virginia, a slave manumitted after 1836 had to obtain the permission of county court to remain legally in the state for more than a year after his manumission. Until the mid-1850's, the Fairfax court routinely permitted reputable, newly emancipated slaves to remain in the county. But in 1855 when Lewis Casey, a "free man of color' who had been recently manumitted by will and was known to be "honest, sober and industrious," petitioned the court for permission to remain, the justices refused. It was, they declared, "impolitic to encourage any larger increase in this class of our population." By the 1850s, the Virginia legislature, angered by Northern demands for the immediate abolition of slavery, was prepared to make the black code even harsher. One or two Virginia governors advocated that all free blacks be forcibly expelled from the state. Though the Assembly refused to accede to the governors' requests, it provided for the voluntary enslavement of free blacks, made it illegal for free blacks to purchase slaves, authorized the sale into slavery of free blacks convicted of certain crimes, and enacted legislation which made the escape of slaves more difficult. (Fairfax County, Virginia a History. FairfaxCountyBoard of Supervisors, Fairfax, Virginia, 1978 p 273)
1836/01 In an effort to suppress the still feeble antislavery forces, Southern Congressmen proposed what was, in effect, an intellectual blockade. They urged federal authorities to allow states to censor literature that they deemed "incendiary," including not only abolitionist broadsides but also a wide range of general magazines, Northern newspapers and religious journals that only occasionally mentioned slavery. Postmasters were encouraged to monitor citizens' mail and remove anything that they deemed related to abolitionism. All petitions to Congress on the subject of slavery were to be automatically tabled, without being printed or referred to in any way. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)
"When Adams idly presented his colleagues with another anti-slavery petition, a Georgian congressman rose to move that the list of signatures not be accepted. Some months later the notorious "gag rule" was put into effect, forbidding the further admission of such petitions to Congress. It would prove one of the more maladroit instances of Southern intransigence.
"Where Adams had hitherto been a mild thorn in the side of the slave forces, he now became "old Man Eloquent," challenging the gag rule and slavery with a fanatical devotion that knew no pause. Moreover, the spectacle of a former president standing alone, unswayable and unyielding was not without its political psychodrama. Men who had no fixed opinion on slavery could not help but be moved by the struggle of wills between one old man and the whole Southern delegation. (Tom Dowling, Washington Star, Great Drama in Saving the Nation, October 6, 1976)
More shocking still, a gag rule imposed by Southerners and their Northern Democrat allies forbade members to discuss the subject of slavery upon the floor of Congress, under threat of censure. Not only was the enslaved black person denied every freedom but now the white person was even to be denied the freedom to talk about it. The hero of Miller's story is John Quincy Adams, the only former President in American history to later be elected to Congress, where he served with distinction for 17 years. Steeped from childhood in the hardheaded New England idealism of the Revolutionary era, Adams not only deplored slavery in principle, as many of his contemporaries did, but went far beyond most of them in condemning racial prejudice, which, as he put it, "taints the very sources of moral principle" by establishing "false estimates of virtue and vice." (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian, December, 1996)
Beginning in 1836, and for nearly a decade, Adams relentlessly fought the gag rule, struggling to make white citizens see that the South's determination to protect slavery at all costs represented an assault upon their own treasured rights. It was a lonely and humiliating battle, almost without allies. Although a vigorous septuagenarian, Adams was openly scorned as a dotard by his enemies. He was at least twice threatened with assassination. At one point, the ex-President was nearly censured for daring to attempt to submit what his colleagues believed was a petition from a group of Maryland slaves. "Had anyone, before today, ever dreamed that the appellation of the people' embraced slaves?" demanded Aaron Vanderpoel, an influential New York Democrat and frequent apologist for slavery. (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)
"All petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions or papers relating in any way or to any extent whatsoever to the subject of slavery shall, without either being printed or referred, be laid on the table and that no further action whatever shall be had thereon."
1836/05/26 Congress passes a resolution, stating that it has no authority over state slavery laws. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1836 Anti-Masonic leaders joined the new Whig Party. (Vermont," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997)
1836 Death of the National Bank Jackson interpreted his election as a popular mandate to proceed against the Bank of the US and started removing Federal funds, depositing them in select state banks beginning in October, using 23 state banks, called "pet banks," by the end of 1833. Jackson justified his actions in his annual message to Congress, claimed complete responsibility for removing the deposits on the grounds that the bank had tried to influence elections.
Henry Clay introduced two resolutions in the Senate which censured the actions of the Treasury and of JacksonJackson supporters in the House passed 4 resolutions in support of his Bank policy. Jackson's conciliatory actions toward the Senate were rejected, as well as Taney , his nomination for the Treasury. Senator Benson successfully expunged the censure from the Senate record (January 1837) over this issue, both of which were adopted.
The Bank died and was rechartered as the Bank of the US of Philadelphia. g. Deposit Act required the Secretary of the Treasury to designate at least one bank in each state and territory as the place of public deposit (1) The banks were assigned the general services previously given to the national government by the Bank of the US. (2) It also required that surplus revenue in excess of $5 million be distributed among the states as a loan subject to recall although it was never recalled.
Specie Circular July 1836. The use of paper currency was expanded by Biddle's banking policies, causing inflation and land speculation to increase. (1) In 1823 the average Bank notes issued was $4.5 million but by 1831 it increased to $19 million (2) The bank also made credit and currency more abundant in the West and South, causing land sales to skyrocket ($2,623,000 in 1832 to $24,877,000 in 1836). Jackson ordered the issuance of the Specie Circular which provided that after 15 August 1836, only gold, silver or Virginia land scrip would be accepted by the government in payment for public lands, although paper money was permitted until 15 December for parcels of land up to 320 acres purchased by actual settlers or bona fide residents of the state in which the save was made.
The purpose -- to repress "alleged frauds" from "the monopoly of the public lands in the hands of speculators and capitalists" and the "ruinous extension" of bank notes and credit d. Although public-land sales were reduced in the West, the circular taxed the inadequate resources of the state "pet" banks, drained specie from the East, led to hoarding, and weakened public confidence in the state banks. After Jackson defended the circular in his annual message in December 1836, and recommended that land sales be limited to actual settlers, Congress passed a measure that rescinded the Specie Circular, but it was pocket-vetoed by Jackson. The Specie Circular was not repealed until a joint resolution in May 1838.(Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
1837 Congress enacts a gag law to suppress debate on the slavery issue. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1837 Country suffers severe depression. (Stefan Lorant, The Presidency, NY Macmillan, 1951, page 148-150. Cited by Cited by Dolores T. Williams, Preliminary Checklist of Non-Official Imprints for the District of Columbia, 1836-37, with a Historical Introduction)
1837 Panic of 1837. The reckless land speculation and the specie circular resulted in a serious downturn in the USNew Orleans. New York's unemployed demonstrated against high rents and inflated food and fuel prices and one mob broke into food warehouses and sacked their supplies. Several banks, beginning in New York, suspended specie payments. Public land sales fell from 20 million acres (1836) to 3 1/2 million acres (1838). The effects of the panic persisted until 1842-43 particularly in the South and West. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX) economy which worsened as Van Buren took office. The price of cotton fell by one-half in
1837-41 Martin Van Buren becomes President as Democrat. VP is Richard M. Johnson
1837/03/04 Martin Van Buren presidential Inaugural Address deals with Slavery in the District of Columbia, "Fellow-Citizens: I then declared that if the desire of those of my countrymen who were favorable to my election was gratified. I must go into the Presidential chair the inflexible and uncompromising opponent of every attempt on the part of Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia against the wishes of the slaveholding States, and also with a determination equally decided to resist the slightest interference with it in the States where it exists. I submitted also to my fellow-citizens, with fullness and frankness, the reasons which led me to this determination."
Two weeks after Van Buren`s inauguration a financial panic struck the New York commercial and financial community. Years earlier, Jackson decentralized the national bank, which allowed many state and local banks to engage in land and profit speculation. This speculation continued throughout Jackson`s final four years in office and into Van Buren`s administration. However, in 1837, the wild speculation ended, and a panic concerning the stability of the financial markets, the banks, and even in the government, spread across the nation. These fears caused a wide spread recession, ultimately ending in a depression, to engulf the nation. (The Depression of 1837; Economic Issues ))
1837 Victorian Style, trends in British architecture and furniture in the Victorian era (1837-1901). An especially widespread tendency, called Eclectic Revivalism, was to adapt earlier styles to industrial-age needs... (Encarta 98 Desk Encyclopedia Microsoft Corporation.)
1838 The "underground railway" organized by U.S. abolitionists transports southern slaves to freedom in Canada, but slaving interests at Philadelphia work on the fears of Irish immigrants and other working people who worry that freed slaves may take their jobs. A Philadelphia mob burns down Pennsylvania Hall May 17 in an effort to thwart antislavery meetings. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
A book, co-authored by a professor at HowardUniversity, pieces together a story of how quilts made by slaves before and during the Civil War were stitched with patterns that formed a secret code, part of a network of communication that helped slaves escape to freedom.
Existence of such coded quilts had long been suspected among those familiar with African-American quilting traditions, according to Raymond Dobard, professor of art history at Howard and co-author of "Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad" (Doubleday; 272 pages; $27.50). But the new book by Dobard and University of Denver professor Jacqueline Tobin adds a scholarly dimension to what had been largely a story preserved in oral tradition, passed down from generation to generation. The research effort began when Tobin learned of the story from Ozella McDaniel Williams, an African-American quilter from South Carolina. The code Williams described had three main components: a series of 10 symbols that told slaves where and when escapes were planned, what routes to take and instructions about how to survive in the wilderness; an enigmatic story passed down by oral tradition that explained what the symbols meant; and spirituals whose titles and lyrics have long been recognized as covert traveling instructions ("Wade in the Water," "Steal Away"). (Fern Robinson "Underground Railroad Signals" Washington Post. Thursday, February 18, 1999; Page T04) (Conducting Underground Railroad Research? See http://www.ugrr.org/research.htm & http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/exugrr/exuggr5.htm which has an excellent bibliography on slavery. see also underground railroad bibliography at http://education.ucdavis.edu/NEW/STC/lesson/socstud/railroad/Books.htm)
1838 Presbyterians divide over slavery. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library
1839 The Chesapeake and OhioCanal started in 1828 reaches 134 miles west of Georgetown but runs into financial difficulties (see 1850). (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1839-42 William Grason Governor of Md.(MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc.)
1840 Roughly a 30 per cent of the inhabitants of the District of Columbia were Negroes. (Letitia W Brown, Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860, Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC, 1969-70, p68)
The World’s Anti-Slavery Convention opens at London, but Boston abolitionist William Garrison refuses to attend, protesting the exclusion of women (see 1831). The U.S. antislavery movement has split into two factions in the past year largely because of Garrison’s advocacy of women’s rights, including their right to participate in the antislavery movement (see first Women’s Rights Convention, 1848). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
.At the World's Anti-slavery Convention, African American Charles Remond refused to be seated when he learned that women were being segregated in the gallery (Denise Pazur, The Plain Dealer, Jan 31, 1993, page 8)
1840 United States Census pages for President Van Buran and Congressperson John Q. Adams missing (DC Census 1840 Roll 35 page 5 microprint 0006)
1841 A court at Washington, D.C., rules March 9 that Cinque and his fellow mutineers aboard the Spanish slave ship Amistad last year are not guilty and orders their release. Madrid protests. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The 1839 case involved about 50 Africans who, against international law, had been captured and shipped to Havana, Cuba, where they seized the schooner Amistad, which was taking them to a plantation. Two crewmen were killed in the fight, and the rest of the crew were put ashore. Then the Africans ordered the owners to sail the ship back to Africa. However, the Amistad was seized by a U.S. brig off the Atlantic coast, and the Africans were imprisoned in Connecticut. The Connecticut court referred the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in 1841. Adams argued that the United States should treat as free any persons escaping from illegal bondage. He denounced the administration of President Martin Van Buren for favoring the return of the captives to the Spanish planters who claimed ownership of them. The court decided for the Africans and, with money raised by abolitionists, 32 of them were returned to their homeland of Sierra Leone. The others had died at sea or while awaiting trial. ("Adams, John Quincy," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
William H. Harrison, Whig becomes President. VP John Tyler
Journal Article traces the controversy stemming from the reply of Julia Gardiner Tyler, wife of former President John Tyler, to the 1852 address of an English duchess which called on American women to support gradual abolition, immediate ending of the breakup of slave families, and improvement of slave education. Mrs. Tyler claimed that British social conditions were worse than those of American slaves, and attacked the British "Affectionate and Christian Address . . . " mainly as unwarranted interference in US domestic affairs. She defended southern womanhood and questioned the motivation of British appealers. 63 notes. (Pugh, Evelyn L., Women And Slavery: Julia Gardiner Tyler And The Duchess Of Sutherland. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1980 88 (2): 186-202.)
Maryland passed a law requiring a penalty of ten to twenty years imprisonment for any free black having any materials relating to abolition in his possession. In 1858, Samuel Green, a minister from DorchesterCounty, was sentenced to a ten year prison term for possessing a copy of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Green was also suspected of having actively participated in the Underground Railroad. (Roland C. McConnell, Editor, Three Hundred and Fifty years: A Chronology of the Afro-American in Maryland, 1634-1984, 1985)
The owner of a fugitive slave may recover him under the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, the Supreme Court rules March 1 in Prigg v. Pennsylvania. The court overturns an 1826 Pennsylvania law that made kidnapping a slave a felony, saying an owner cannot be stopped from recovering a slave, but it says also that state authorities are under no obligation to help the slaveowner. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
In 1848, William Craft (d. 1900) and Ellen Craft (d. 1890), slaves on a Georgia plantation, escaped to Philadelphia and later moved to Boston where they remained until Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Their owners then demanded extradition of the Crafts to Georgia. Despite aid from antislavery groups, extradition appeared inevitable, forcing the Crafts to flee to Great Britain where they remained until the American Civil War ended. In England, the Crafts played prominent roles in helping British abolitionist groups oppose slavery. Based on archival, newspaper, and secondary sources; 54 notes. (Blackett, R. J. M. Title: Fugitive Slaves In Britian: The Odyssey Of William And Ellen Craft . Journal of American Studies [Great Britain] 1978 12(1): 41-62. Also see the National Park Service Biographies of the Crafts Taken from: The African Meeting House in Boston: A Sourcebook, by William S. Parsons & Margaret A. Drew)
1842/09/21 The Council of the District of Columbia passed an Act to created an auxiliary night police to patrol the streets of the city and in part to enforce the "colored curfew." At 10: PM, all "colored" people out without a pass were liable to arrest, fine and flogging. The floggings were administered sometimes at the guard post and sometimes at the whipping-post of the jail, on the northeast corner of Judiciary Square. "In place of the baton, each officer carried a stick surmounted by an iron spear-head, intended originally to pry open doors in case of fire or when in pursuit of thieves...some of the officers became so proficient as to make it a formidable weapon either when used as a club or thrown as a javelin." (Richard Sylvester, District of Columbia Police, Policemen's Fund, Washington, DC 1894 page 29)
1844/01/10 The law that now exists in the District of Columbia, relative to fugitive slaves, compels a Negro under arrest to prove that he was born free. (The Sun (Baltimore) Jan 9-15, 1844, reprinted January 9th 1994)
The questions of slavery in the territories and slavery in the Mexican province of Texas divided the nation. Before 1836, the Mexican border with the United States was Louisiana, Arkansas territory, and the Indian lands of Oklahoma. As one of Spain's New World colonies, slavery was legally protected in Mexico. Still, there was little slavery in the underpopulated province of Texas until, at almost the same time that Mexicans rose in revolt against Spanish domination (1819), American slaveholders moved into Texas and began to carve out plantations with slave labor. The newly-independent Mexicans wanted Texas to be settled, but they did not want American slavery to be a permanent part of their new nation. The Mexican legislature agreed in 1827 that, after the adoption of its constitution, no one would be born a slave on Mexican soil. American efforts to get around this by registering their slaves as indentured servants ultimately failed. This tension over slavery was a primary cause for American Texans to seek independence from Mexico and to establish the Republic of Texas (1836-1848).50(See Randolph Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar Institution in Texas, 1821-1865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989 cited in The Underground Railroad In American History, The National Park Service)
1844/12/03 The gag rule was revoked when Northern Democrats, breaking ranks with their Southern counterparts, voted against the rule. The gag rule was overturned, after an alliance of Northern and Southern Democrats at last began to fissure. But it would take a civil war before the questions raised by Adams were finally answered. Yet, in those debates of the 1830s, tectonic plates had shifted. Adams had shaken the "immense, rooted institution" of slavery as no one had before. The effort to silence Adams and his handful of allies had only intensified popular concern over the moral and political cost of protecting slavery. . (Bordewich, Fergus M., Arguing About Slavery: The Great Battle in the United States Congress; book review of book by William Lee Miller, Smithsonian December, 1996)
1845-49 James Knox Polk, Democrat becomes President. VP George M. Dallas.
In a cost cutting measure Sarah Polk wife of the President replaced White House servants with slaves and rearranged the White House Basement into slave quarters. (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, pages 256 see Commissioner's letters sent, May-Oct 184, passim: see also Polk's financial records in Polk papers LC not draft of July 20, 1846, to for January 9, 1847, Feb 2, 1847 and Jan 1, N.D. for purchase of slaves.)
Her primary economic measure had been tried by previous southern Presidents, a substantial reduction of the numbers in the salaried staff and their replacement with slaves. About ten hired servants were let go, and their positions were taken by a combination of slaves from the Polk's home place in Tennessee and several more slaves purchased from relatives and friends during the first three years of Polk's Presidency. (The President's House: a History by William Seale, White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, page 257)
1845 The Methodist Episcopal Church in America splits into northern and southern conferences after Georgia bishop James O. Andrews resists an order that he give up his slaves or quit his bishopric. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
"It is well known that the rift came over Georgia Bishop James O. Andrew's acquisition of slaves. Ironically, Andrew was chosen bishop by the General Conference of 1832, because he owned no bondsmen (although servants belonging to others were provided for his use). In an age when a woman's property routinely passed at marriage to her husband, Owen became a slaveholder when he remarried, following the death of his first wife. The bishop thought that he could avoid controversy by deeding his human property back to his spouse, but northern delegates to the 1844 General Conference demanded his resignation. A peacemaker, Andrew would have given up his post, except for the southern delegation's strong urging that he stand firm. The southerners feared that they would lose influence at home, if they gave into northern "ultraism."
In the end Methodists, North and South, agreed to an amicable divorce, with a prorated division of church assets. Both sides displayed a measure of moderation, with the Georgia Methodists supporting the legalization of slave marriages and keeping antislavery references in their _Discipline_ until 1857, and the northern Methodist Episcopal Church waiting almost to the end of the Civil War before barring slaveholders from membership. (Christopher H. Owen. _The Sacred Flame of Love: Methodism and Society in Nineteenth-Century Georgia. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1998. xx + 290 pp. Notes, bibliography, and index. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8203-1963-5. Reviewed for H-AmRel by Thomas A. Scott , Department of History and Philosophy, Kennesaw State University, Georgia)
In the 1840's pastors and congregations of the Methodist church were expressing their views on slavery in no uncertain terms. In AlexandriaVirginia, the Methodists presented a house dived unto itself. Trading in slaves must have been considerable as the slave pen, located at 1318 Duke Street, was known as "The Norman". The tense feeling of the day was reflected in the views of two outstanding pastors: Norval Wilson, a man of strong Southern views who preached at the Alexandria Station in 1850 and Alfred Griffith pastor in this city in 1843 and 1844, whose deep anti-slavery views crystallized the break that came in the General Conference in 1844. The General Conference of 1844 agreed upon a Plan of Separation. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, became a distinct organization. The split in AlexandriaVirginia was finalized in 1849 when the Virginia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, with The Reverend J. H. Davis presiding met. The new congregation had made arrangements with Benjamin Hollowell, Quaker schoolmaster and president of the Lyceum organization to use that building which then was comparatively new, being only fourteen years old. (Washington Street United MethodistChurch, Alexandria, Virginia, Reflections 1849-1989. Researcher and Editor Kathryn Pierpoint Hedman, 1989)
Amos Kendall’s Expositor, was published in WashingtonDC, One issue of June 16, 1841 was sold at auction, described as "A lively political sheet produced by Amos Kendall, a self-appointed watchdog for the new Whig administration of Harrison and Tyler. Interesting opinions on the functioning of the government and special interests lobbyists show that very little has really changed! (Old World Auctions. Antique Newspapers )
Alexandria given back to Virginia. DC had been called "the very seat and center of the slave trade." (John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moss, Jr. From Slavery to Freedom, 1947, 1997 pages 114-115 in LC reference.) See also William T. Laprade, "The Domestic Slave-Trade in the District of Columbia," Journal of Negro History, XI (January, 1926 pp 17-34)
Smithsonian Institution research institution founded by the bequest of the English scientist James Smithson. Although it was held by John C. Calhoun and other members of Congress that the federal government had no power to accept such a gift, it was finally secured, largely through the efforts of John Quincy Adams, and in 1846 the institution was established by congressional act at Washington, D.C.(Encyclopedia Britannica On-Line)
The Cornerstone of the Smithsonian Institution was laid in 1847 by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Benjamin B. French in the presence of President James K Polk. (Ray Baker Harris, The Laying of cornerstones, Supreme Council 33°, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Washington DC, 1961)
Scholars generally agree that the Industrial Revolution occurred in the United States beginning at about the middle of the 19th century.
1845 Irish immigration increases due to the potato famine.
Escaped slave Frederick Douglas, 30, begins publication at Rochester, N.Y., of an abolitionist newspaper, the North Star. The Massachusetts Antislavery Society published Douglas's’ autobiography 2 years ago and he has earned enough from lecture fees in Britain, Ireland, and the United States to buy his freedom. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
About 1000 slaves per year escaped to the North during the pre-Civil War decades, most from the upper South. This represented only a small percentage of those who attempted to escape, however, since for every slave who made it to freedom, several more tried. Other fugitives remained within the South, heading for cities or swamps, or hiding out near their plantations for days or weeks before either returning voluntarily or being tracked down and captured. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation.)
1847 Steam powers a U.S. cotton mill for the first time at Salem, Mass., where the Maumkoag Steam Cotton Mill begins production. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1847-48 The Virginia Legislature has enacted (Sess. Acts 1847-8, ch. 10, § 24,) that "any free person who, by speaking or writing, shall maintain that owners have not right of property in their slaves, shall be punishable by confinement in the jail, not more than twelve months, and by fine not exceeding five hundred dollars." (Bacon v. The Commonwealth. Supreme Court Of Virginia, 48 Va. 602; 1850 Va. Lexis 43; 7 Gratt. 602, June Term, 1850)
1848 Work begun on the Washington Monument, DC Obelisk honoring the first U.S. president. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996 from MS Bookshelf)
1848/03/10 Mexican War ends, expanding U.S. slave territory into Texas.
1848/04/15 Daniel Drayton attempted to smuggle 76 slaves on the ship Pearl out of Washington to Freedom in the North. The slaves belonged to "41 of the most prominent families in Washington and Georgetown and were valued at $100,000." The Pearl got as far as Chesapeake but ran into headwinds. "A steamer was chartered by owners and friends armed to the teeth with guns pistols and bowie knives for the pursuit. The steamer took Drayton's vessel into tow, and brought them back to Washington. A mob had assembled on 4th street and rushed the group when they reached Pennsylvania avenue shouting Lynch them, Lynch them. (George Rothwell Brown, Capital Silhouettes, Washington Post March 10, 1924)
According to Josephine Pacheco, professor emeritus of history at GeorgeMasonUniversity, former first lady Dolley Madison owned one slave heading for the Pearl. Abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison claimed that another worked in President James K. Polks's White House. (Mary Kay Ricks, Escape on the Pearl,, Washington Post, Horizon August 12, 1998.)
"The public was infuriated and tended to blame Dr. Gamaliel Bailey, the editor of the antislavery newspaper, the National Era, for conceiving and planning the whole affair. A crowd formed before the office of Bailey's newspaper and pelted the building with stones until they were dispersed by the police (National Era, April 27, 1848; The Liberator, April 28 1848 cited in Dorothy Sproles Provine, The Free Negro In the District of Columbia 1800-1860, Thesis Louisiana State University Department of History, 1959, 1963)
Drayton, Daniel. Personal Memoir Of Daniel Drayton, (For Four Years And Four Months A Prisoner (For Charity's Sake In Washington Jail, Negro Universities Press, 1969 122pp) including a narrative of the voyage and capture of the schooner Pearl. First published in 1855 by Bela. Drayton, born in Cumberland County, NJ, plied a vessel between Delaware Bay and Virginia's eastern shore, coming into frequent contact with the African-American slaves in the Chesapeake region. Soon, he was helping slaves escape North aboard his schooner "Pearl," until he was seized on the Potomac and imprisoned.
In WashingtonDC, a description of conditions just beyond the city limit, Florida Avenue "The slaves are watched by the patrols, who ride about to try to catch them off the quarters, especially at the house of a free person of color. I have known the slaves to stretch clothes lines across the street, high enough to let the horse pass, but not the rider; then the boys would run, and the patrols in full chase would be thrown off by running against the lines. The patrols are poor white men, who live by plundering and stealing, getting rewards for runaways, and setting up little shops on the public roads. They will take whatever the slaves steal, paying in money, whiskey, or whatever the slaves want. They take pigs, sheep, wheat, corn- - any thing that's raised they encourage the slaves to steal: these they take to market next day. It's all speculation- - all a matter of self- interest, and when the slaves run away, these same traders catch them if they can, to get the reward. If the slave threatens to expose his traffic, he does not care- - for the slave's word is good for nothing- - it would not be taken." ("My Bedstead Consisted Of A Board Wide Enough To Sleep On". Francis Henderson was 19 when he managed to escape from a slave plantation outside of Washington, D.C., in 1841. Here, he describes conditions on his plantation. Source: Benjamin Drew, A North- Side View of Slavery (Boston, 1856). (For a description of the conditions of slave just outside Washington, DC see slave narrative)
Another well-known example of abolitionist activity in the South was the case of the ship Pearl which attempted to leave WashingtonCity in April, 1848, with 77 slaves who were to leave the ship as free persons when it docked in New York. Betrayed by an offended black man, the Pearl was seized and its captain, Daniel Drayton, and owner, Sayres, were arrested and tried in Washington. The trial lasted six weeks in the summer of 1848 and Drayton was sentenced to prison while Sayres paid a fine of $10,000. Drayton, whose release was gained in April 1853 by black Boston lawyer Robert Morris after he served four years, committed suicide in New Bedford in 1857.
Leonard Grimes, born to free parents in Leesburg, Virginia, became a hackman in Washington, D.C., and part of a large group of African Americans, both free and fugitive, who had grown up in the south and were intimately acquainted with its geography and many of its people. These residents of Washington were well positioned to aid runaways -- and they did so. Grimes was apprehended by the local authorities on one of his trips to VirginiaVirginia penitentiary. After his release, he moved north and became the minister of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston where he and his congregation continued to aid fugitives. while attempting to transport a free black man and his slave family out of the state. He served two years in the
1847-48 Free-Soil party, U.S. political party born in 1847–48 to oppose the extension of slavery into territories newly gained from Mexico. In 1848 the Free-Soil party ran Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams for president and vice president; by polling 300,000 votes it gave New YorkState to the Whigs and thus made Zachary Taylor president. After the Compromise of 1850 seemed to settle the slavery-extension issue, the group known as the Barnburners left the Free-Soilers to return to the Democratic party, but radicals kept the Free-Soil party alive until 1854, when the new Republican party absorbed it. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
A third party took part in the election of 1848. Called the Free-Soil Party, it included Democrats and Whigs who disagreed with their parties, and abolitionists, who wanted an immediate end to slavery. The Free-Soil Party nominated former president Martin Van Buren of New York for president and Massachusetts legislator Charles Francis Adams for vice president. (Fillmore, Millard, Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
1848 Congress passed the OregonTerritory bill, which prohibited slavery in the area. President James K. Polk signed the bill because the OregonTerritory lay north of the Missouri Compromise line. Later proposals tried to extend the line by law across the continent to the Pacific Ocean. These efforts failed. The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. (Political Compromises: Missouri Compromise, The World Book, African American Journey.)
Zachary Taylor, Whig becomes President. VP Millard Fillmore.Taylor brought house slaves from Louisiana to work at the White House. There were approximately 15, including children; one was the body servant who had accompanies General Taylor to Mexico. (The President's House: a History by William Seale , White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, page 282)
1849 Abraham Lincoln as Representative, unsuccessfully proposed a bill for the "compensated emancipation of slaves in the District of Columbia. (Mary Kay Ricks, Escape on the Pearl, Washington Post, Horizon August 12, 1998.)
1849 Maryland slave Harriet Tubman, 29, escapes to the North and begins a career as "conductor" on the Underground Railway that started in 1838. Tubman will make 19 trips back to the South to free upward of 300 slaves including her aged parents whom she will bring North in 1857. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1850 The Chesapeake and OhioCanal begun in 1828 finally reaches Cumberland, Md., which the B&O Railroad reached in 1842. The $22 million 184.5-mile canal with its 74 lift locks is obsolete, plans to continue it 180 miles westward to Pittsburgh are abandoned, but it will be used until 1924. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1850/09/18 Compromise of 1850 attempts to settle slavery issue. As part of the Compromise, a new Fugitive Slave Act is added to enforce the 1793 law and allows slaveholders to retrieve slaves in northern states and free territories. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service, http://www.cr.nps.gov/htdocs1/boaf/urrtim~1.htm)
The Fugitive Slave Law passed in September 1850 allowed escaped slaves to be captured and brought back to their masters. The law also prosecuted anyone who helped hide slaves or who aided fugitive slaves in any way. The law was very expensive to the United States of America as it cost thousands of dollars to return all slaves to the places from where they had escaped. A boom also began in the slave catching business. It was easy to take any black person, free or not and say they escaped. Slave catchers roamed the whole continent looking for black people. Because of this law many blacks escaped to Canada in the 1850's and 60's. The Fugitive Slave Law was responsible for the escalation of blacks in Chatham and Buxton (Canadian towns), as they were final stations of the Underground Railroad. (The Buxton Settlement -Cultural Landscape. North BuxtonOntario, Canada. This information is taken from a Black History project completed by students and Staff from Chatham Collegiate Institute in Chatham, Ontario. Material was compiled from the collections of the Chatham - Kent sites of the African Canadian Heritage Tour.)
Congress enacted the famous Compromise of 1850. A provision of the Compromise relating to slavery included the outlawing of the slave trade in Washington, D.C. but the retention of slavery itself. (Alton Hornsby, JR,. Chronology of African American History, Gale Research 1991, in LC reference)
The Compromise of 1850 strengthened the fugitive slave law. "All good citizens" were required to obey it on pain of heavy penalty; jury trial and the right to testify were prohibited to fugitives. The Abolitionists and new personal-liberty laws defied these provisions. Notable fugitive slave trials stirred up public opinion in both the North and South. Northern Nullification of the fugitive slave laws was cited in 1860 by South Carolina as a cause of secession. Congress repealed both laws in 1864, during the Civil War. (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
"Relatively few [slaves] escaped permanently. . . The federal census of 1850 recorded the escapes to free territory of only 1,010 slaves. In 1860, the number was 803. They came principally from the border states. An organization of Quakers and antislavery people in the border states and in the North aided some slaves to escape to Canada; however, their assistance has been vastly exaggerated in the legend of the Underground Railroad. The more valuable aid given to escaping slaves was by free Negroes and fellow slaves ... They hid the fugitives in the daytime and gave directions to them" (From Clement Eaton, Growth of Southern Civilization New York: Harper, 1961 page 73, cited in The Underground Railroad In American History, The National Park Service)
1850 Sen. Henry Clay’s Compromise of 1850 admitted California as 31st state Sept. 9, slavery forbidden; made Utah and New Mexico territories without decision on slavery; made Fugitive Slave Law more harsh; ended District of Columbia slave trade. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996 from MS Bookshelf)
The Compromise of 1850 was worked out by Henry Clay to settle the dispute between North and South. On January 29, 1850, it was introduced to the Senate as follows:
California should be admitted immediately as a free state;
Utah should be separated from New Mexico, and the two territories should be allowed to decide for them selves whether they wanted slavery or not;
The land disputed between Texas and New Mexico should be assigned to New Mexico;
In return, the United States should pay the debts which Texas had contracted before annexation;
Slavery should not be abolished in the District of Columbia without the consent of its residents and the surrounding state of Maryland, and then only if the owners were paid for their slaves.
Slave-trading (but not slavery) should be banned in the District of Columbia;
A stricter fugitive slave law should be adopted.
(Jordan, W. et al. (1985): The Americans. p. 310) The Compromise resulted in heavy debates in the Senate. Especially the leader of the Conscience Whigs, William H. Seward, criticized it. He argued that there was "a higher law than the Constitution" (Jordan, W. et al. (1985): The Americans. p. 311.), and alluded to the law of God, which forbade slavery. Still the people seemed to accept the Compromise with some hesitation. President Zachory Taylor was truly against the plan and created a deadlock, but as he died, and was succeeded by Vice- President Millard Fillmore, the whole thing got a new turn. He successfully convinced the Whig party. However, the Compromise was turned down in Congress. Henry Clay withdrew from politics due to poor health and Stephen A. Douglas took over the task of dealing with the Compromise. (Andreas Sandgren, "Causes Of The Civil War In America, 1861-1865" Lund, Spyken, 1993)
1850 Zachary Taylor died in office on July 9. Millard Fillmore, as a Whig Took the presidential oath the following day. There was no Vice president
Mytilla Miner, alarmed the city's white citizens by opening the Normal School for Colored Girls, a college preparatory school in a city where slavery remained legal. In 1854, Minor wrote" "Emily (Edmonson) and I lived here alone, unprotected, except by God. The rowdies occasionally stone our house in the evening. Emily and I have been seen practicing shooting with a pistol. The family (Paul and Amelia Edmonson) have come with a dog." (Mary Kay Ricks, Escape on the Pearl,, Washington Post, Horizon August 12, 1998.)
She selected the District "because it was the common property of the nation and because the laws of the District gave her the right to educate free colored children, and she attempted to teach none others." (Special Report of the Commissioner of Education on the Condition and Improvement of Public Schools in the District of Columbia. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1871.)
Within two months the enrollment grew from 6 to 40, and, despite hostility from a portion of the community, the school prospered. Contributions from Quakers continued to arrive, and Harriet Beecher Stowe gave $1,000 of her Uncle Tom's Cabin royalties. The school was forced to move three times in its first two years, but in 1854 it settled on a three-acre lot with house and barn on the edge of the city. In 1856 the school came under the care of a board of trustees, among whom were Henry Ward Beecher and Johns Hopkins. While the school offered primary schooling and classes in domestic skills, its emphasis from the outset was on training teachers. Miner stressed hygiene and nature study in addition to rigorous academic training. By 1858 six former students were teaching in schools of their own. By that time Miner's connection with the school had been lessened by her failing health, and from 1857 Emily Howland was in charge. In 1860 the school had to be closed, and the next year Miner went to California in an attempt to regain her health. A carriage accident in 1864 ended that hope, and Miner died on December 17, 1864, shortly after her return to Washington, D.C.(Women in American History by Encyclopedia Britannica)
Why are little girls familiar with Louisa May Alcott rather than Margaret Fuller, with Scarlett O'Hara and not Myrtilla Miner, with Florence Nightingale and not Fanny Wright. Why have they never heard of the Grimke Sisters, Sojourner Truth, Inez Milholland, Prudence Crandall, Ernestine Rose, Abigail Scott Duniway, Harriet Tubman, Clara Lemlich, Alice Paul, and many others in a long list of brilliant courageous people? Something smells fishy when scarcely fifty years after the vote was won, the whole WRM is largely forgotten, remembered only by a few eccentric old ladies. May I suggest the reason for this, why women's history has been hushed up just as Negro history has been hushed up, so that the black child learns, not about Nat Turner but about the triumph of Ralph Bunche, or George Washington Carver and the peanut.http://scriptorium.lib.duke.edu/wlm/notes/)
Her students were insulted and attacked by white men along the streets. The building was stoned and set afire. But Miss miner stood her ground. Using some of their leisure time, she and Emily Edmondson (of the famous case of the Pearl) warned hoodlums of their mettle by firing pistols at a target in the yard. (Washington, City and Capital, Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, American Guide Series. Washington, 1937, USGPO. P73)
1853-57 Franklin Pierce Democrat becomes President. VP William R. King, 1853 and Apr 1853-Mar 1857
1857/03/05 Dred Scott decision by U.S. Supreme Court Mar. 6 held, 6-3, that a slave did not become free when taken into a free state, Congress could not bar slavery from a territory, and blacks could not be citizens. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, from MS Bookshelf.)
The Dred Scott decision announced by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, 79, March 6 enrages abolitionists and encourages slaveowners. The fugitive slave Dred Scott, now 62, brought suit in 1848 to claim freedom on the ground that he resided in free territory, but the court rules that his residence in Minnesota Territory does not make him free, that a black may not bring suit in a federal court, and in an obiter dicta by Taney, that Congress never had the authority to ban slavery in the territories, a ruling that in effect calls the Missouri Compromise of 1820 unconstitutional. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The notoriety surrounding Dred Scott v. Sandford (US, 1857) has frequently hindered historians' efforts to understand the policy-making role of the antebellum Supreme Court. The Dred Scott case was neither exceptional nor anomalous. It was, however, the natural result of judicial doctrines and tendencies that had been developing for several years. John Marshall, though opposed to slavery in the abstract, believed that a judge's moral instincts should not influence his rulings in light of the law. Roger Taney, as Chief Justice, was determined to destroy antislavery constitutional ideas argued in cases before him. Even before the famous Dred Scott case, Supreme Court decisions involving Groves (1841), Prigg (1842), and Van Zandt (1847) consistently undermined antislavery constitutional ideas argued before the Court. The Dred Scott decision was no aberration. 89 notes. (Wiecek, William M. Slavery And Abolition Before The United States Supreme Court, 1820-1860. Journal of American History 1978 65(1): 34-59.)
Excerpts from Dred Scott Decision, "But there are two clauses in the Constitution which point directly and specifically to the Negro race as a separate class of persons, and show clearly that they were not regarded as a portion of the people or citizens of the Government then formed.
One of these clauses reserves to each of the thirteen States the right to import slaves until the year 1808, if it thinks proper. And the importation which it thus sanctions was unquestionably of persons of the race of which we are speaking, as the traffic in slaves in the United States had always been confined to them. And by the other provision the States pledge themselves to each other to maintain the right of property of the master, by delivering up to him any slave who may have escaped from his service, and be found within their respective territories. By the first above mentioned clause, therefore, the right to purchase and hold this property is directly sanctioned and authorized for twenty years by the people who framed the Constitution. And by the second, they pledge themselves to maintain and uphold the right of the master in the manner specified, as long as the Government they then formed should endure. And these two provisions show, conclusively, that neither the description of persons therein referred to, nor their descendants, were embraced in any of the other provisions of the Constitution; for certainly these two clauses were not intended to confer on them or their posterity the blessings of liberty, or any of the personal rights so carefully provided for the citizen.
1857/06/01 "Confrontation with mob during election violence outside City Hall, WashingtonDC," leaves two US Marines wounded. (US Navy and Marine Casualties)
1857-61 James Buchanan Democrat becomes President. VP John C. Breckinridge On slavery he favored popular sovereignty and choice by state constitutions. He denied the right of states to secede. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, from MS Bookshelf.)
1859/10/16 Abolitionist John Brown with 21 men seized U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry (then Virginia) Oct. 16. U.S. Marines captured raiders, killing several. Brown was hanged for treason by Virginia Dec. 2. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, from MS Bookshelf.)
Marine assault on building occupied by abolitionist John Brown and followers, Harper's Ferry, Virginia, 18 Oct. 1859. One Marine killed and one Wounded. (US Navy & Marine Casualties )
Census data Total number of slaves in the Lower South : 2,312,352 (47% of total population). Total number of slaves in the Upper South: 1,208758 (29% of total population). Total number of slaves in the Border States: 432,586 (13% of total population).
Almost one-third of all Southern families owned slaves. In Mississippi and South Carolina it approached one half. The total number of slave owners was 385,000 (including, in Louisiana, some free Negroes). As for the number of slaves owned by each master, 88% held fewer than twenty, and nearly 50% held fewer than five. (A complete table on slave-owning percentages is given at the bottom of this page.)
For comparison's sake, let it be noted that in the 1950's, only 2% of American families owned corporation stocks equal in value to the 1860 value of a single slave. Thus, slave ownership was much more widespread in the South than corporate investment was in 1950's America.
1861 Methodist southern bishops kept their regional denomination from officially backing secession. After the Confederacy became a reality, white Georgia Methodists supported it, since their church _Discipline_ required obedience to whatever government was in power. After southern defeat, they had no difficulty submitting again to the authority of the U.S.A. in secular matters, while yielding to no one but God in matters sacred. Owen believes that the southern church actually came out of the war stronger than ever. An institution not under government control, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (MECS), gave white Wesleyans a refuge from northern cultural and political domination. Meanwhile, black Methodists flocked out of the Caucasian-controlled denomination into the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) and the Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church, where former bondsmen found bastions against the destructive influence of white supremacy. (Christopher H. Owen. _The Sacred Flame of Love: Methodism and Society in Nineteenth-Century Georgia. Athens and London: The University of Georgia Press, 1998. xx + 290 pp. Notes, bibliography, and index. $50.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-8203-1963-5. Reviewed for H-AmRel by Thomas A. Scott , Department of History and Philosophy, Kennesaw State University, Georgia)
1861/08/06 First Confiscation Act nullifies owners' claims to fugitive slaves who had been employed in the Confederate war effort.. (Chronology of Emancipation during the Civil War for the brief chronology, adapted from the version published in Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War, lists important events in the history of emancipation during the Civil War.)
Did Blacks fight for the Confederacy? …what many historians find outrageous are the claims being made by men like Charlie Condon (South Carolina's attorney general) . Though he later revised his estimate to 50,000 blacks who "served in the Confederate Army," Edward Smith at AmericanUniversity puts the number of black rebels "actually shooting people" at 30,000. Most historians regard this figure as inflated- by almost 30,000. "It's pure fantasy," contends James McPherson, a Princeton historian and one of the nation's leading Civil War scholars. Adds Edwin Bearss, historian emeritus at the National Park Service: "It's b.s., wishful thinking." Robert Krick, author of 10 books on the Confederacy, has studied the records of 150,000 Southern soldiers and found fewer than a dozen were black. "Of course, if I documented 12, someone would start adding zeros," he says. Tainted History? These and other scholars say claims about black rebels derive from unreliable anecdotes, a blurring of soldiers and laborers, and the rapid spread on the Internet of what McPherson calls "pseudohistory." Thousands of blacks did accompany rebel troops- as servants, cooks, teamsters and musicians. Most were slaves who served involuntarily; until the final days of the war, the Confederacy staunchly refused to enlist black soldiers. Some blacks carried guns for their masters and wore spare or castoff uniforms, which may explain eyewitness accounts of black units. But any blacks who actually fought did so unofficially, either out of personal loyalty or self-defense, many historians say. (Shades of Gray: Did Blacks Fight Freely For the Confederacy?)
1862/04/16 Slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia by Congress on this day. One million dollars was appropriated to compensate owners of freed slaves, and $100,000 was set aside to pay district slaves who wished to emigrate to Haiti, Liberia or any other country outside the United States. (Jet Magazine, This Week in Black History, Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. April 21, 1997)
President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 9 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called "the national shame" of slavery in the nation's capital.
The law provided for immediate emancipation, compensation of up to $300 for each slave to loyal Unionist masters, voluntary colonization of former slaves to colonies outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 to each person choosing emigration. Over the next 9 months, the federal government paid almost $1 million for the freedom of approximately 3,100 former slaves.
The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery's death. Emancipation was greeted with great jubilation by the District's African-American community. For many years afterward, black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals. (National Archives and Records Administration Featured Document)
Lincoln was certainly not an abolitionist. He found slavery personally abhorrent, but ending it was not his first priority. He was in many ways what we would consider in modern terms a typical cautious liberal -- a compromiser on serious moral issues, only moving on them when pushed by social movements. As a Congressman, he was opposed to the Mexican War (which was designed to add slave territory) but still voted to finance it. He would not speak publicly against the Fugitive Slave Act, wrote to a friend "I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down...but I bite my lips and keep quiet." He was a lawyer, with a legalistic approach to slavery: the Constitution did not give the federal government the power to interfere with slavery in the states. The District of Columbia was not a state, and he did offer a resolution, while in Congress, to abolish slavery there, but accompanied this with a fugitive slave provision that escaped slaves coming into D.C. must be returned. Wendell Phillips, the militant Boston abolitionist, called Lincoln "that slavehound from Illinois". During the Civil War he would not do anything about slavery for fear of alienating the states fighting on the side of the North which still had slavery, said plainly that his main aim in the war was not to end slavery but to get the South back into the Union, and would do this even if it meant retaining slavery. The Whig Party which became the Republican Party which elected Lincoln represented economic interests which wanted a large country with a huge market for goods, with high tariffs to protect manufactures (which Southern states opposed). The South stood in the way of capitalist expansion. If you look at the legislation passed by Congress during the War, with the South no longer an obstacle, you see the economic interests: Railroad subsidies, high tariffs, contract labor law to bring in immigrant workers for cheap labor and to use as strikebreakers, a national bank putting the government in a partnership with banking interests. The Emancipation Proclamation was a weak document for freeing slaves, but did have great moral force. I deal with all this in my book A Peoples History Of The United States. There's an excellent chapter on Lincoln in Richard Hofstadter's book The American Political Tradition. (Howard Zinn, A Selection of Zinn's Posts from the ZinnZine Forum)
1865 Robert E. Lee surrendered 27,800 Confederate troops to Grant at Appomattox CourtHouse, VA, Apr. 9. J. E. Johnston surrendered 31,200 to Sherman at Durham Station, NC, Apr. 18. Last rebel troops surrendered May 26.
President Lincoln was shot Apr. 14 by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theater, Washington; died the following morning. Booth was reported dead Apr. 26. Four co-conspirators were hanged July 7. Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery, was ratified Dec. 6. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, from MS Bookshelf.)
1865 Amendment XIII. Slavery abolished. Proposed by Congress Jan. 31, 1865; ratified Dec. 6, 1865. The amendment, when first proposed by a resolution in Congress, was passed by the Senate, 38 to 6, on Apr. 8, 1864, but was defeated in the House, 95 to 66 on June 15, 1864. On reconsideration by the House, on Jan. 31, 1865, the resolution passed, 119 to 56. It was approved by President Lincoln on Feb. 1, 1865, although the Supreme Court had decided in 1798 that the President has nothing to do with the proposing of amendments to the Constitution, or their adoption.) 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996, from MS Bookshelf.)
Andrew Johnson, Democratic/National Union Party becomes President
1866/02/27 An act of the Virginia General legalized common law marriages among free or enslaved Americans of African descent. The Act was "rendered necessary to meet the abnormal condition that existed among the colored race in consequence of the abolition of Negro slavery in the South as a result of the Civil War. Without this enabling act, slave-marriages which largely obtained among that class of the population were invalid, because, being slaves, the parties were incapable to make any contract, including that of marriage. When, therefore, these former slaves were emancipated and clothed with the rights and privileges of citizenship, the good order of society demanded that these inchoate marriages should be recognized as lawful and the children legitimated. And the right of children of slave-marriages to inherit property from the father was regarded of sufficient consequence to be expressly secured both by the Constitutions of 1869 and of 1902 (Constitution of Virginia, 1869, sec. 9, Art. &I; and sec. 195, Art. XIV, of the present Constitution). The act in question (now section 2227 of the Code) declares that, "Where colored persons prior to February 27, 1866, agreed to occupy the relation * * * of husband and wife, and were cohabiting together * * * at that date, whether the rites of marriage had been celebrated between them or not, they shall be deemed husband and wife, and be entitled to the rights and privileges, and subject to the duties and obligations of that relation in like manner, as if they had lawfully married; and all their children shall be deemed legitimate, whether born before or after said date. And where the parties ceased to cohabit before February 27, 1866, in consequence of the death of the woman, or from any other cause, all the children of the woman, recognized by the man to be his, shall be deemed legitimate." (Francis and Others v. Tazewell and Others, Supreme Court Of Virginia, 120 Va. 319; 91 S.E. 202; 1917 Va. Lexis 110, January 11, 1917)
"Professor John B. Minor, in his … discussion of slavery in Virginia, observes: "Previous to February 27, 1866, the marriage laws of Virginia did not contemplate nor include Negroes, not even free Negroes, at least in respect to any penalties for disregard of the laws touching license or prohibition of bigamy, of incestuous marriages, or lewd cohabitation; and hence marriages of free Negroes (those of slaves being void) were governed altogether by the common law." 1 Minor's Inst. (4th ed.), p. 268. The author, at page 188, says: "It is agreed that [*812] slaves have no power to make contracts. Hence the marriages of slaves are void." (Lemons v. Harris and Others, Supreme Court Of Virginia, 115 Va. 809; 80 S.E. 740; 1914 Va. Lexis 134, January 15, 1914)
1866/04/19 The African-American citizens of Washington, D.C., celebrated the abolition of slavery. A procession of 4,000 to 5,000 people assembled at the White House, where they were addressed by President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875). Marching past 10,000 cheering spectators, the procession, led by two black regiments, proceeded up Pennsylvania Avenue to Franklin Square for religious services and speeches by prominent politicians. A sign on top of the speaker's platform read: "We have received our civil rights. Give us the right of suffrage and the work is done."
1867 That year dealt the ruling white elite of the South a grave blow. In the South, the substantial numbers of African-Americans who had been able to vote steadfastly refused to return their former masters to power. (Original Footnote: Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987)) At the national level, Congress had grown impatient with the so-called "Presidential" Reconstruction. Presidential Reconstruction included the return of former Confederates to power, the Southern states’ unanimous rejection of the fourteenth amendment, and the establishment of the notorious "Black Codes," which gravely limited the freedoms and citizenship’s of African-Americans in the South, and made it plain that the white aristocrats who controlled the Southern state governments "intended to yield none of their pre-war power over poor whites and especially over Blacks." (Text footnote Southern PovertyLawCenter (SPLC), The Ku Klux Klan, a History of Racism and Violence. (Klanwatch. 1988), 9) As a result, the Radical Reconstructionists passed the Congressional Reconstruction Act, which overturned the lenient reconstruction of Lincoln and Johnson and invalidated the governments of every Southern state but Tennessee, divided them into military districts, and attempted to ensure the Civil rights of African-Americans. (Text Footnote: Chalmers, David M., Hooded Americanism. (Duke University Press, 1987), 11) The members of the Klan correctly perceived these actions as a threat to continued white supremacy, and quickly organized to combat them. In April of 1867, the Klan had held a secret meeting in Nashville to prepare for the August elections, and decided to offer the leadership of the Klan to a former Confederate Cavalry commander named Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987), p 37) Nathan Bedford Forrest was described by the Cincinnati Commercial as six feet one inch and a half in height, with broad shoulders, a full chest... one hundred and eighty-five pounds; dark-gray eyes, dark hair, mustache and beard worn upon his chin." Text Footnote: Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987), A dashing example of the Southern Caviler, he had been a millionaire slave-trader and plantation owner prior to the war, and made a brilliant reputation as a commander of cavalry during the war. He also, however, commanded the troops which massacred captured African-American soldiers at FortPillow in April of 1864. (Text Footnote: Dictionary of American Biography, Volume III, (American Council of Learned Societies: 1930), p532.)(Robert Arjet History of the Ku Klux Klan: The First Era, found in HateWatch which was originally called "A Guide to Hate Groups on the Internet")
1870 The 1870 census is usually the end of the line when tracing African American genealogy. "African American slaves didn't appear by name on federal censuses before 1870 because they were property. But they were identified by name on other records. They were named in deeds, wills and other court records. Court records are the next step in the research process after the 1870 Census, particularly wills and intestate records. Intestate records list the property the deceased person left behind if that person did not leave a will.. In Chambers County, Alabama, for instance, in many cases, slave families were sold or otherwise passed on as units. Often, husbands, wives and small children were sold as units. The exceptions were the young people that were over 12 years old. They were able to work and didn't require a mother's care, and were often sold away from the family. The researcher tries to find former slaves by name. Problem! Court records usually give only the first names of slaves. However, you must identify your ancestors by surname. How do you do this?
After emancipation former slaves were able to choose any name they desired. In many cases they chose the name of their last owner. In many cases they chose the name of a previous owner. And in many cases they did not choose a name of any former owner. They wanted to distance themselves from slavery. So how do you find slave ancestors? Look through court records for first names that you recognize as belonging to your 1870 families. (After the 1870 Federal Census, What Next? Where to look and what to look for. By Cliff Murray in African American Lifelines visit this site for many hints on genealogical research. also see the genealogical links at AfriGeneas)
1871-1912 Height of global European Imperialism and the "scramble for Africa" proceed, rationalized as a "civilizing mission" based on white supremacy. Europeans assert their "spheres of interest" in African colonies arbitrarily, cutting across traditionally established boundaries, homelands, and ethnic groupings of African peoples and cultures. Following a "divide and rule" theory, Europeans promote traditional inter-ethnic hostilities. "The European onslaught of Africa that began in the mid 1400s progressed to various conquests over the continent, and culminated over 400 years later with the partitioning of Africa. Armed with guns, fortified by ships, driven by the industry of capitalist economies in search of cheap raw materials, and unified by a Christian and racist ideology against the African 'heathen,' aggressive European colonial interests followed their earlier merchant and missionary inroads into Africa"(Mutere). [See gold "Soul Washer's Badge" taken from the Asante king's bedroom by Lieutenant R.C. Annesley of the 79th Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, when a British military expedition captured the Asante capital of Kumasi ["Gold Coast," now Ghana] on February 4, 1874.] (African Timelines Table of Contents History, Orature, Literature, & Film Part IV: Anti-Colonialism & Reconstruction, compiled by Cora Agatucci, Central Oregon Community College)
The conquest of Africa by Europe and the American acquisition of lands in the Caribbean and Pacific which were inhabited by darker peoples, were taken as clear evidence of racial inequality even in the land which had been founded on the belief in the equality of all men. Second-class citizenship for blacks had become a fact which was accepted by Presidents, Congress, the Supreme Court, the business community, and by labor unions. Segregation was universal. In the North it was rooted in social custom, but in the South it had been made a matter of law. Separate facilities were inferior facilities. The basic political and civil rights of the Afro-American were severely limited in almost every state. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution)
1868-75 Smallpox outbreaks hit New York, Philadelphia and other cities, and it was discovered that many children had not been vaccinated. The New York City Board of Health recommended that all residents be vaccinated in 1870, but there was widespread public resistance, since the vaccine itself was not without risk, and people perceived the campaign as creating a panic situation and allowing doctors to profit from it. (Some Historically Significant Epidemics This list was compiled largely from Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence, edited by George C. Kohn, and published by Facts On File, Inc., 1995)
1887 Plessy V. Ferguson. As Americans we have been struggling since the beginning of time to fight for what is right in our society. After the Civil War many Southern states were determined to try and limit the rights of former slaves. One of the biggest fears in society was the mixing of the races, this was something the white people vowed to stop. The government succeeded by using the segregation laws, such as the one passed by Florida in 1887, which required railroads operating in the state or passing through the state to house black passengers in separate cars from the whites. It was soon after this that separate car laws were in forced in most of the South.
A group of New Orleans black businessmen decided to fight these laws along with railroads who were also against the law. The group decided to test the case, and a black man by the name of Homer Plessy volunteered to break the law. Plessy boarded a East Louisiana railroad train in New Orleans and took a seat in a white-only car. He was asked to move and refused. He was then arrested and brought before New Orleans Parish Judge John Ferguson. Plessy and his attorney argued that the separate car laws violated his civil rights. Ferguson found Plessy guilty and he was charged with a twenty-five dollar fine.
However, this case was far from over, it went to the Supreme Court and the law of separate cars was quickly found constitutional. The Court ruled that "separate but equal facilities" was proper under the 14th Amendment. After the case was argued twice and almost two years later the court ruled 8-1 that Louisiana was correct.
On May 16, 1896, Brown wrote the majority opinion; Harlan dissented. A state law requiring trains to provide separate but equal facilities for black and white passengers does not infringe upon federal authority to regulate interstate commerce nor is it in violation of the 13th or 14th Amendments. The train was local; a legal distinction between the two races did not destroy the legal equality of the two races guaranteed by the 13th Amendment and the 14th Amendment protected only political, not social, equality, the majority said.
1889/03/02 President signs NationalZoologicalPark into law. (Marion P. McCrane, Zoologist to Eda B. Frost July, 28, 1967, SIA, RU 365, NZP OPA 1805-1988 Box 35 Folder 9) Design by Frederick Law Olmstead
Olmsted or Olmstead, Frederick Law, 1822–1903, American landscape architect and writer; b. Hartford, Conn. In the 1850s he attained fame for his travel books, which describe slaveholding society in the South. When Central Park, N.Y.C., was projected (1856), he and Calvert Vaux prepared the plan that was accepted, and he supervised its execution. This was the first of many parks he designed; others are in Brooklyn (ProspectPark), Chicago, Montreal, Buffalo, and Boston. He laid out the grounds for the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Chicago (now Jackson Park). (The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, 1995 by Columbia University Press from MS Bookshelf.)
1890's Throughout its history, America had been predominantly an Anglo-Saxon and Protestant country. The Afro-American stood out in sharp distinction to this picture both because of his color and his African heritage. By the end of the nineteenth century America was being flooded with immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. They too were much darker than the dominant strains of Northern Europe, and many were Catholics. There was a growing feeling that these new immigrants, like the Negroes, were inherently alien and intrinsically inassimilable. Liberals in the progressive movement, who were concerned about protecting the integrity and morality of American society, were in the fore-front of those who feared the new hordes of "swarthy" immigrants.
One of those who feared that the large influx of South and East Europeans would undermine the quality of American life was Madison Grant. In his book The Passing of the Great Race, he warned that Nordic excellence would be swamped by the faster-spawning Catholic immigrants. Originally these racial stereotypes had some cultural and historical basis, but they were gaining a new strength and authority from the sociological and biological sciences centering in the concepts of Social Darwinisn. Darwinism and related theories in anthropology and sociology helped to give an aura of respectability to racism in both Europe and America. The same kind of pseudo-scientific thinking which was developed in Europe to justify anti-Semitism was used in America to reinforce prejudices against Negroes as well as against Jews and South Europeans.
In the first half of the nineteenth century the American anthropologist Samuel George Morton argued that each race had its own unique characteristics. Racial character, he believed, was the result of inheritance rather than of environment. Because these characteristics found specific environments congenial, each race had gravitated to its preordained geographic habitat. Darwin's theory of evolution offered another explanation for the existence of differing species in the animal kingdom, and anthropologists concluded that it would also provide an explanation for racial differences in mankind. Early anthropologists and sociologists were preoccupied with dividing humanity into differing races and trying to catalog and explain these differences. Phrenology was another pseudo-science which attempted to construct a system according to which intellectual and moral characteristics would be correlated with the size and shape of the human head. On this basis many tried to divide mankind into physical types and to assign to each its own intellectual and moral qualities. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972, Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution.)
1900 Rayford W. Logan, in his book The Betrayal of the Negro described the turn of the century as the low point in Afro-American history. After Emancipation, he contended, the hopes of the Negroes were betrayed. Again they were pushed down into second-class status. It appeared that democracy was for whites only. Actually, the increasing growth of racism and of segregation as well, led inevitably to the development of opposition groups bent on destroying this discrimination. Segregation promoted the creation of Negro institutions which then became the center for this counterattack. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, All Men Are Created Equal, Slavery and the American Revolution)
1910 Segregated neighborhoods. On December 19, the City Council of Baltimore approved the first city ordinance designating the boundaries of black and white neighborhoods. This ordinance was followed by similar ones in Dallas, Texas, Greensboro, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky, Norfolk, Virginia, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Richmond, Virginia, Roanoke, Virginia, and St. Louis, Missouri. The Supreme Court declared the Louisville(Timeline of African American History, 1852-1925 by the Staff of the Library of Congress) ordinance to be unconstitutional in 1917
1915 "D.W. Griffith's "Birth of A Nation" represented the essence of racism in film. The movie set the stage for future portrayals of blacks in film. Griffith showed blacks as, "endearing inferiors duped into rising above their accustomed station by misinformed abolitionists and vindictive reconstruction congressmen who had betrayed Lincoln's benign plans for the defeated South." 'Birth of a Nation' created a set of black comic figures studios used as prototypes in film for years to come. (Television and Film)
One final factor made the United States in 1915 perhaps more ready than it had ever been for Simmons’s vision of a new Klan. That year, a media phenomenon began that was to profoundly alter the course of American race relations: D.W. Griffith’s racist epic film The Birth of a Nation debuted that fall, and race-hatred would never be the same.
The Birth of a Nation occupies a seminal position in American film. It introduced the very concept of the film epic to the American people, and transformed the way Americans thought about the motion picture. Unfortunately, its impact was at least as influential on the Ku Klux Klan. The Birth of a Nation is perhaps the greatest single piece of propaganda in the history of mass media, both in its efficacy and in its reach, and its prime beneficiaries have been the Klan. (Text Footnote: Discussion of The Birth of a Nation literally fills volumes. See, for example, The Birth of a Nation, a 1994 collection edited by Robert Lang)
The Birth of a Nation depicts events in a Southern town before, during and after the Civil War, giving special attention to the "heroic" actions of the Klan, and depicting them as a noble order of valiant white men who restored order and justice in a chaotic time. While Birth propagated the false history of the first-era Klan as discussed earlier, what the film added to Klan lore was vitally important. First, Birth gave the Klan a visual iconography that they had never before enjoyed. Contrary to widespread belief, the first-era Klan did not burn crosses—that practice was purely an invention of Thomas Dixon Jr., the author of the books upon which Birth of a Nation was based. (Text note: While the literature on Birth of a Nation is extensive, much less attention is paid to the books on which the movie was based. The Leopard's Spots and The Clansman, by Thomas Dixon, Jr. These books were wildly popular in their day (early 1900s) and laid the groundwork for 20th century racism in the United States. See Joel Williamson's The Crucible of Race for a rare investigation of Dixon's novels)
Likewise, the first-era Klan did not always wear the impressive white robes depicted in the film. First-era uniforms were a motley assortment, and often consisted of nothing more than a flour bag thrown over the head for disguise.
The second effect that the film had for the Klan was that it exposed millions of Americans to a rousing adventure story in which the Klan were the saviors of all that was good, holy, and pure about America. The sensation that The Birth of a Nation created is hard to overestimate. Grossing an unheard-of $18 million dollars (the equivalent of 360 million today), Birth of a Nation took the nation by storm. In Historian Wyn Craig Wade’s words, "In an astonishing few months, Griffith’s masterpiece had united white Americans in a vast national drama, convincing them of a past that had never been." (Text Footnote: Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987) p 139)
Although the film’s gross inaccuracies were strongly attacked, especially by the NAACP, it should be noted that the film was accurate according to the history books of its time. A generation of (mostly Northern) scholars including future president Woodrow Wilson and historian William A. Dunning had, from 1873 to 1907, "systematically distorted the motives of radical Republicans, falsified the behavior of Southern Blacks, and glorified the Ku-Klux Klansmen as heroes." (Text Footnote: Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987) p 115)
As malicious as The Birth of a nation was, it was also a "faithful composite of the "proven facts" and " authentic evidence" contained in the most reputable history books of 1915." (Text Footnote: Wade, Wyn Craig, The Fiery Cross. (Simon and Schuster, 1987) p 132)
The impact of The Birth of a Nation was not lost on Joseph Simmons. He could tell that the public was receptive to the idea of a heroic Klan, and made every effort to turn the sensation the film caused into free advertising for his new Klan. In addition, he was not above capitalizing on a gruesome murder and subsequent lynching to advertise his "fraternal order." (Robert Arjet, History of the Ku Klux Klan: The Second Era of the Ku Klux Klan, 1915-1944, found in HateWatch was originally called "A Guide to Hate Groups on the Internet")
The film "The Birth of a Nation" by David W. Griffith is released. An adaptation of Rev. Thomas Dixon JR's. novel/play The Klansmen or The Clansmen.
In its presentation of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) as heroes and Southern blacks as villains, it appealed to white Americans due to its mythic view of the Old South, and its thematic exploration of two great American issues: inter-racial sex and the empowerment of blacks. Ironically, the film's major black roles (stereotypically played) were filled with white actors - in blackface. [The real blacks in the film only played in minor roles.] Its climactic finale helped to assuage America's sexual fears about the rise of defiant, strong (and sexual) black men.
"The propagandistic film was one of the biggest box-office money-makers in the history of film - it made $18 million by the start of the talkies. It caused immediate criticism by the NAACP for its racist portrayal of blacks. They denounced the film as "the meanest vilification of the Negro race." Riots broke out in major cities, and subsequent lawsuits and picketing tailed the film for years. Even President Woodrow Wilson during a private screening at the White House is reported to have naively exclaimed: "It's like writing history with lightning. And my only regret is that it is all terribly true." (The Birth Of A Nation (1915) reviewed by Tim Dirks, 1996, firstname.lastname@example.org,full version on line))
Lynchings, Searching through America's past for the last 25 years, collector James Allen uncovered an extraordinary visual legacy: photographs and postcards taken as souvenirs at lynchings throughout America. With essays by Hilton Als, Leon Litwack, Congressman John Lewis and James Allen, these photographs have been published as a book "Without Sanctuary" by Twin Palms Publishers and are on display at the New York Historical Society through July 9. Experience the images as a flash movie with narrative comments by Jamesgallery of photos which will grow to over 100 photos in coming weeks. Participate in a forum Allen, or as a about the images, and contact us if you know of other similar postcards and photographs.
1918 Writing (on the history of slavery) in the first half of the twentieth century was that blacks were inferior to whites, that races should be separated, and that therefore slavery was not so bad after all. This perspective is best typified by Ulrich B. Phillips's American Negro Slavery (1918), a classic work which dominated the interpretation of southern history for the next thirty years. Phillips depicted a plantation system in which slaves were generally contented with their lot and unlikely to resist. Those rare occasions in which resistance did occur were more likely the result of slaves having lazy or criminal characters rather than any legitimate complaint about their conditions. Indeed, Phillips saw slavery as a system which was economically unprofitable but socially desirable--a civilizing institution necessitated by the racial inferiority of African Americans. (Theresa Anne Murphy, Scholarship On Southern Farms And Plantations 1996 American Studies Department of George Washington University, for the National Park Service Web Page on Slavery)
Journal article analyzes writings that provided important American perceptions of Africa from colonial times through the early 20th century when American impressions of Africa derived substantially from commentators such as Theodore Roosevelt, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, and Charles Francis Adams, Jr. Generally American portrayals of Africa have been characterized by distortions and frequently have served uniquely American purposes such as justifying slavery and sanctioning racial segregation. Since 1900, many American writers on Africa equated the events of European colonization in Eastern and Southeastern Africa with the processes that Americans popularly presumed were inherent in the taming of American frontiers. Based on American writings about Africa and on secondary sources; 43 notes. (McCarthy, Michael. Africa And The American West. Journal of American Studies [Great Britain] 1977 11(2): 187-201.)
1919/07/19 Whites riot against blacks in Washington, DC. The rampage by about 400 whites initially drew only scattered resistance in the black community, and the police were nowhere to be seen. When the Metropolitan Police Department finally arrived in force, its white officers arrested more blacks than whites, sending a clear signal about their sympathies.
It was only the beginning. The white mob – whose actions were triggered in large part by weeks of sensational newspaper accounts of alleged sex crimes by a "Negro fiend" – unleashed a wave of violence that swept over the city for four days. Nine people were killed in brutal street fighting, and an estimated 30 more would die eventually from their wounds. More than 150 men, women and children were clubbed, beaten and shot by mobs of both races. Several Marine guards and six D.C. policemen were shot, two fatally.
The Washington riot was one of more than 20 that took place that summer. With rioting in Chicago, Omaha, Knoxville, Tenn., Charleston, S.C., and other cities, the bloody interval came to be known as "the Red Summer." Unlike virtually all the disturbances that preceded it – in which white-on-black violence dominated – the Washington riot of 1919 was distinguished by strong, organized and armed black resistance, foreshadowing the civil rights struggles later in the century.
Racial resentment was particularly intense among Washington's several thousand returning black war veterans. They had proudly served their country in such units as the District's 1st Separate Battalion, part of the segregated Army force that fought in France. These men had been forced to fight for the right to serve in combat because the Army at first refused to draft blacks for any role other than laborer. They returned home hopeful that their military service would earn them fair treatment.
Instead, they saw race relations worsening in an administration dominated by conservative Southern whites brought here by Woodrow Wilson, a Virginian. Wilson's promise of a "New Freedom" had won him more black voters than any Democrat before him, but they were cruelly disappointed: Previously integrated departments such as the Post Office and the Treasury had now set up "Jim Crow corners" with separate washrooms and lunchrooms for "colored only." Meanwhile, the Ku Klux Klan was being revived in Maryland and Virginia, as racial hatred burst forth with the resurgence of lynching of black men and women around the country – 28 public lynchings in the first six months of 1919 alone, including seven black veterans killed while still wearing their Army uniforms.
Washington's newspapers made a tense situation worse, with an unrelenting series of sensational stories of alleged sexual assaults by an unknown black perpetrator upon white women. The headlines dominated the city's four daily papers – the Evening Star, the Times, the Herald and The Post – for more than a month. A sampling of these July headlines illustrates the growing lynch-mob mentality: 13 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN NEGRO HUNT; POSSES KEEP UP HUNT FOR NEGRO; HUNT COLORED ASSAILANT; NEGRO FIEND SOUGHT ANEW. Washington's newly formed chapter of the NAACP was so concerned that on July 9 – 10 days before the bloodshed – it sent a letter to the four daily papers saying they were "sowing the seeds of a race riot by their inflammatory headlines." (Excerpted from "Race Riot of 1919, Gave Glimpse of Future Struggles" By Peter Perl Washington Post Staff Writer. Monday, March 1, 1999; Page A1)
1921/06/01 Perhaps the nations deadliest racial confrontation begin in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The exact number of people killed in the riot, which destroyed a 30-square-block area of north Tulsa known as Greenwood, a primarily black neighborhood, was never determined. Newspaper accounts at the time varied, with some reporting as many as 76 dead. But some historians, citing survivors' accounts, have put the figure as high as 300. Blacks here have long maintained that whites used airplanes to bomb homes, churches and businesses in north Tulsa. By 1999, a special commission to investigate the incident and determine compensation was financed through a $50,000 grant from the Oklahoma Historical Society. Scott Ellsworth, a former historian at the Smithsonian Institution and author of "Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921," is one of the advisers to the commission. The historian John Hope Franklin, whose father lost his home in the riot, is also an adviser to the commission. Franklin last year headed the advisory board to the President's Initiative on Race. (New York Times 2/21/99 Panel Tries to Get Clearer Picture of 1921 Race Riot)
1939 "Sit down" at segregated Barrett Library by five young African American men: Otto L. Tucker, Edward Gaddis, Morris L. Murray, William Evans, and Clarence Strange. The protest led the City to open Alexandria’s first library for African Americans, Robert Robinson Library, in 1940. Today, the building houses the BlackHistoryResourceCenter(City of Alexandria Timeline)
1990's A proliferating number of popular and scholarly books about slavery are stripping away whatever is left of the velvety romance of benign slaveholders presiding over docile slaves. And they are emphasizing efforts of the enslaved to escape or rebel and the punishments they faced that ranged from branding to amputation. Much of the bleaker information emerges from the faded pages of court records and antebellum divorce petitions. But among the newly published books are some milder views expressed in the memoirs of planters' wives, old handwritten diaries and slave narratives. Much of the burst in publishing about slavery has come in the 1990s, with 53 titles published last year and 16 published so far this year, according to R.R. Bowker's Books in Print. In previous decades, the yearly output of titles was less than 12 a year. (Doreen Carvajal, Slavery's Truths (and Tales) Come Flocking Home New York Times 3/28/99)
Virginia Gazette (Parks), Williamsburg , From August 10 to August 17, 1739.
RAN away, the 8th of July last, from the Subscribers, living in Westmoreland County, Four Servant Men, viz. John Mackue, Francis Man, Daniel Fitzpatrick, and John Freelove. John Mackue is an Irishman, of a middle Stature, swarthy Complexion, his Hair is just cut off, and is a Blacksmith by Trade: He has on one of his Arms a Bleeding Heart, prick'd with Gunpowder, and a Name at Length, with several other Letters. He had on, when he went away, a blewish grey Coat and Breeches, a Dowlas Shirt, and an old Hat; he also took with him a Pair of long Trowsers, and an Oznabrig Shirt. Francis Man is an Englishman, of a middle Stature, swarthy Complexion, short brown Hair, and yellowish rotten Teeth, speaks quick and full Mouth'd; he goes a little lame, and says one of his Legs has been broke; he is a Blacksmith by Trade. He had on, when he went away, a Manx Cloth Vest, a coarse Pair of long Trowsers, Shoes and Stockings, and a Felt Hat; he also carried with him, a Smith's Hand-Vice, a Pair of Spoon-Moulds, and some Files. Daniel Fitzpatrick, is an Irishman, with the Brouge on his Tongue, is a short, squat, well-made Fellow, with short black Hair, broad Faced, and is very Hairy about the Brest; he is a Farmer and Ditcher. He had on, when he went away, a grey Kersey Vest, a Pair of long coarse Linnen Breeches, a coarse Check Shirt, and a Felt Hat; he also had with him a white Shirt. John Freelove, is a Gardener by Trade, has a red Head, white Eye-brows.