19th Century articles
Making of America at U. Michigan
posted Jan 2006
Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial, industrial progress and resources.
New Orleans [etc.]: J. D. B. DeBow
Volume 2 (3): 296-298
The editor was an obsessed apologist for slavery before the Civil War, and apparently couldn't just give it up afterwards.
ART. IX.-THE MASSACHUSETTS SLAVE TRADE.
" No person was «ver born a slave on the soil of
Massachusetts."— Charles Sumner, speech in the U. S. Senate, June 28,
The wicked pretension which has characterized the
writings and speeches of some Massachusetts orators and so-called
statesmen in the last quarter of a century, in regard to slavery, has
been recently most ably exposed and unmasked by Mr. Geo. H. Moore, of
New York, in a work which he has recently published, entitled " Notes
on the History of Slavery in Massachusetts." (D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1866.
" In fact; no person was ever born into legal
slavery in Massachusetts."— Palfrey, History of New England, vol. II,
p. 30, note.
In this able and learned volume, the author shows
in minute detail how that the early Massachusetts colonists enslaved
the Indians and sold them to the West Indies, how profitable they
found the traffic, how they introduced Africans and practiced all the
atrocities of the slave-trade, how the courts, the General Assembly,
the public press and the pulpit sustained the traffic and the rights of
shivery, and how it died out slowly at last, etc., etc.
And this is the people who say to us now, "We are
more righteous than you are," and whose pious hands are uplifted in
horror over the wrongs of the poor negro, and who cannot hold Christian
fellowship, nor hardly maintain political union with, except as
inferiors, those who happened to remain a few years longer in the
practice which they introduced and taught.
We have not the time nor the space to enter very
fully into the merits of Mr. Moore's volume, nor is it necessary, as
the few extracts that we shall furnish will tell the whole story, which
Messrs. Sumner and Palfrey have ingeniously attempted to conceal.
"The instances are numerous" in disproof of the pretension of Mr. Sumner, says Mr. Moore, "but it
may be proper to refer to the facts, that in the instructions of the
town of Leicester to their representatives in 1773, among the ways
suggested for extinguishing slavery, they proposed
that every negro child born after the enacting of such law shall be
free, &c.; and in a petition of the negro slaves for relief in
1777, they humbly pray that their children, born in the land, may not
be held as slaves after they arrive at the age of 21 !! "
"In 1727 the traffic in slaves appears to have
been an object more than at any other period." Page 60. " In 1718 all
Indian, negro, and mulatto servants for life were estimated as other
personal estate—each male slave at $15 and each frmalc at $10." P. 64.
"The Guinea trade, as it was called then, whose beginnings we have
noticed, continued to flourish under this auspices of the Massachusetts
merchants, down through the entire colonial period, and long after the
boasted Declaration of Rights in 1780 had
terminated (?) the legal existence of slavery within the
limits of the State." Page 66. On same page see elaborate instructions
of the Massachusetts merchants to their slaver captains in 1785, taken
from Felt's History of Salem.
The Boston News Letter, June 10, 1700, begins to
discover that the possession of African slaves is not so profitable,
etc. (Hinc illæ lacrymæ !) We quote from the author, p. 107:
"We are furnished with a list of 44 negroes, dead
last year, which being computed at £30 each, amount to the sum of
£1,330 lost to the colony." " Negroes are generally eye-servants, groat
thieves, much addicted to stealing, lying, &c." " If a white
servant die the loss exceeds not £10, but if a negro die (poor negro)
'tis a very great loss". "A certain person within these six years had
two negroes dead, computed both at £00, which would have procured him
six white servants at £10 per head, to have served 24 years without
running such a risque." [Abolition all over.—Editor.]
But we cannot waste time: would any one suppose
that in reading the following advertisements, which Mr. Moore has
collected, issued when the guns of the Revolutionary War were booming,
the saintly people of Massachusetts could be restrained from seizing
upon the luckless editors and demolishing their offices. What Vandals !
From the Independent Chronicle, October, 3,
1776.—"To bo Sold—A stout, hearty, likely negro girl, fit for either
town or country. Inquire of Mr. Andrew Gillespie, Dorchester, Oct.
From the same, October 10.—"A hearty negro man,
with a small sum of money, to be given away."
From the same, November 28.—"To Sell—A hearty,
likely negro wench, .about 12 or 15 years of age; has had the
small-pox ; can wash, iron, card, and spin, etc.; for no other fault
but for want of employ."
From the same, February 27, 1777.—"Wanted—A negro
girl between 12 and 20 years of age; for which a good price will be
given, if she can be recommended."
From the Continental Journal, April 3, 1777.—"To
be Sold—A likely negro man, 22 years old ; has had the small-pox; can do
any sort of business; sold for want of employment."
"To be Sold—A large, commodious dwelling-house,
barn and outhouses, with any quantity of land, from one to fifty acres,
as the purchaser shall choose, within five miles of Boston; also a
smart, well-tempered negro boy of 14 years old ; not to fio out of this
State, and sold for 15 years only, if he continues to behave well."
From the Independent Chronicle, May 8, 1777.—"To be
Sold—For want of employ—a likely, strong negro girl, about 18 years
old; understands all sorts of household business, and can be well
Yet five years after these editors were still
living, and continued to fill up their available space as is seen in
what comes next, p. 208 :
From the Continental Journal, March 30th and April
fith, 1730.—" To be sold, very cheap, for no other reason than for want
of employ, an exceeding active nogro boy, aged fifteen ; also, a
likvlv' negro i»iil, aged seventeen."
From the Continental Journal, August 17, 1780.—"To
be Sold—A likely negro boy."
From the same, August 24th and September
7th.—"To be sold or let for a term of years, a strong, hearty, likely
From the same, October 19th and 26th, and
November 2d.—"To be Sold—A. likely negro b«y, ahout eighteen years of
age, fit to serve a gentleman, to tend horses or to work in the
From the same, October 26th, 1780.—"To be Sold—A
likely negro boy, about 13 years old; well calculated to wait on a
gentleman. Inquire of the Printer."
" To be sold—A likely young cow and calf. Inquire
of the Printer."
Indepenent Chronicle, Dec. 14th, 21st., 28th,
1780.—" A negro child, soon expected, of a good breed, may be
owned by anyperson inclining to take it, and money with it."
Continental Journal, Dec. 21, 1780, and Jan. 4,
1781.—"To bo Sold—A hearty, strong negro wench ; about 29 years of age
; fit for town or country."