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Title: Some Historical Account of Guinea, Its Situation, Produce, and the General Disposition of Its Inhabitants - An Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave Trade, Its Nature and Lamentable Effects
Author: Benezet, Anthony, 1713-1784
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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SITUATION, PRODUCE, and the general



An Inquiry into the RISE and PROGRESS



Its NATURE, and lamentable EFFECTS.


A REPUBLICATION of the Sentiments of several Authors of Note on this
interesting Subject: Particularly an Extract of a Treatise written by


    ACTS xvii. 24, 26. GOD, _that made the world hath made of_ one
    blood _all nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the
    earth, and hath determined the--bounds of their habitation._




    CHAPTER I. _A GENERAL account of_ Guinea; _particularly those
    parts on the rivers_ Senegal _and_ Gambia.

    CHAP. II. _Account of the_ Ivory-Coast, _the_ Gold-Coast _and
    the Slave-Coast_.

    CHAP. III. _Of the kingdoms of_ Benin, Kongo _and_ Angola.

    CHAP. IV. Guinea, _first discovered and subdued by the_
    Arabians. _The Portuguese make descents on the coast, and carry
    off the natives. Oppression of the_ Indians: _De la Casa pleads
    their cause_.

    CHAP. V. _The_ English's _first trade to the coast of_ Guinea:
    _Violently carry off some of the Negros._

    CHAP. VI. _Slavery more tolerable under_ Pagans _and_ Turks
    _than in the colonies. As christianity prevailed, ancient
    slavery declined_.

    CHAP. VII. Montesquieu's _sentiments of slavery_. Morgan
    Godwyn's _advocacy on behalf of Negroes and Indians, &c._

    CHAP. VIII. _Grievous treatment of the Negroes in the colonies,

    CHAP. IX. _Desire of gain the true motive of the_ Slave trade.
    _Misrepresentation of the state of the Negroes in Guinea_.

    CHAP. X. _State of the Government in_ Guinea, &c.

    CHAP. XI. _Accounts of the cruel methods used in carrying on of
    the_ Slave trade, &c.

    CHAP. XII. _Extracts of several voyages to the coast of_ Guinea,

    CHAP. XIII. _Numbers of Negroes, yearly brought from_ Guinea,
    _by the_ English, &c.

    CHAP. XIV. _Observations on the situation and disposition of the
    Negroes in the northern colonies_, &c.

    CHAP. XV. Europeans _capable of bearing reasonable labour in
    the_ West Indies, &c.

    _Extracts from_ Granville Sharp's _representations,_ &c.

    _Sentiments of several authors,_ viz. George Wallace, Francis
    Hutcheson, _and_ James Foster.

    _Extracts of an address to the assembly of_ Virginia.

    _Extract of the bishop of_ Gloucester's _sermon_.


The slavery of the Negroes having, of late, drawn the attention of many
serious minded people; several tracts have been published setting forth
its inconsistency with every christian and moral virtue, which it is
hoped will have weight with the judicious; especially at a time when the
liberties of mankind are become so much the subject of general
attention. For the satisfaction of the serious enquirer who may not have
the opportunity of seeing those tracts, and such others who are
sincerely desirous that the iniquity of this practice may become
effectually apparent, to those in whose power, it may be to put a stop
to any farther progress therein; it is proposed, hereby, to republish
the most material parts of said tracts; and in order to enable the
reader to form a true judgment of this matter, which, tho' so very
important, is generally disregarded, or so artfully misrepresented by
those whose interest leads them to vindicate it, as to bias the opinions
of people otherwise upright; some account will be here given of the
different parts of Africa, from which the Negroes are brought to
America; with an impartial relation from what motives the Europeans were
first induced to undertake, and have since continued this iniquitous
traffic. And here it will not be improper to premise, that tho' wars,
arising from the common depravity of human nature, have happened, as
well among the Negroes as other nations, and the weak sometimes been
made captives to the strong; yet nothing appears, in the various
relations of the intercourse and trade for a long time carried on by the
Europeans on that coast, which would induce us to believe, that there is
any real foundation for that argument, so commonly advanced in
vindication of that trade, viz. "_That the slavery of the Negroes took
its rise from a desire, in the purchasers, to save the lives of such of
them as were taken captives in war, who would otherwise have been
sacrificed to the implacable revenge of their conquerors._" A plea which
when compared with the history of those times, will appear to be
destitute of Truth; and to have been advanced, and urged, principally by
such as were concerned in reaping the gain of this infamous traffic, as
a palliation of that, against which their own reason and conscience must
have raised fearful objections.





       *       *       *       *       *

[Price 2s. 6d. stitched.]


Guinea affords an easy living to its inhabitants, with but little toil.
The climate agrees well with the natives, but extremely unhealthful to
the Europeans. Produces provisions in the greatest plenty. Simplicity of
their housholdry. The coast of Guinea described from the river Senegal
to the kingdom of Angola. The fruitfulness of that part lying on and
between the two great rivers Senegal and Gambia. Account of the
different nations settled there. Order of government amongst the Jalofs.
Good account of some of the Fulis. The Mandingos; their management,
government, &c. Their worship. M. Adanson's account of those countries.
Surprizing vegetation. Pleasant appearance of the country. He found the
natives very sociable and obliging.

When the Negroes are considered barely in their present abject state of
slavery, broken-spirited and dejected; and too easy credit is given to
the accounts we frequently hear or read of their barbarous and savage
way of living in their own country; we shall be naturally induced to
look upon them as incapable of improvement, destitute, miserable, and
insensible of the benefits of life; and that our permitting them to live
amongst us, even on the most oppressive terms, is to them a favour. But,
on impartial enquiry, the case will appear to be far otherwise; we shall
find that there is scarce a country in the whole world, that is better
calculated for affording the necessary comforts of life to its
inhabitants, with less solicitude and toil, than Guinea. And that
notwithstanding the long converse of many of its inhabitants with
(often) the worst of the Europeans, they still retain a great deal of
innocent simplicity; and, when not stirred up to revenge from the
frequent abuses they have received from the Europeans in general,
manifest themselves to be a humane, sociable people, whose faculties are
as capable of improvement as those of other Men; and that their oeconomy
and government is, in many respects, commendable. Hence it appears they
might have lived happy, if not disturbed by the Europeans; more
especially, if these last had used such endeavours as their christian
profession requires, to communicate to the ignorant Africans that
superior knowledge which Providence had favoured them with. In order to
set this matter in its true light, and for the information of those
well-minded people who are desirous of being fully acquainted with the
merits of a cause, which is of the utmost consequence; as therein the
lives and happiness of thousands, and hundreds of thousands, of our
fellow _Men_ have fallen, and are daily falling, a sacrifice to selfish
avarice and usurped power, I will here give some account of the several
divisions of those parts of Africa from whence the Negroes are brought,
with a summary of their produce; the disposition of their respective
inhabitants; their improvements, &c. &c. extracted from authors of
credit; mostly such as have been principal officers in the English,
French and Dutch factories, and who resided many years in those
countries. But first it is necessary to premise, as a remark generally
applicable to the whole coast of Guinea, "_That the Almighty, who has
determined and appointed the bounds of the habitation of men on the face
of the earth_" in the manner that is most conducive to the well-being of
their different natures and dispositions, has so ordered it, that altho'
Guinea is extremely unhealthy[A] to the Europeans, of whom many
thousands have met there with a miserable and untimely end, yet it is
not so with the Negroes, who enjoy a good state of health[B] and are
able to procure to themselves a comfortable subsistence, with much less
care and toil than is necessary in our more northern climate; which last
advantage arises not only from the warmth of the climate, but also from
the overflowing of the rivers, whereby the land is regularly moistened
and rendered extremely fertile; and being in many places improved by
culture, abounds with grain and fruits, cattle, poultry, &c. The earth
yields all the year a fresh supply of food: Few clothes are requisite,
and little art necessary in making them, or in the construction of their
houses, which are very simple, principally calculated to defend them
from the tempestuous seasons and wild beasts; a few dry reeds covered
with matts serve for their beds. The other furniture, except what
belongs to cookery, gives the women but little trouble; the moveables of
the greatest among them amounting only to a few earthen pots, some
wooden utensils, and gourds or calabashes; from these last, which grow
almost naturally over their huts, to which they afford an agreeable
shade, they are abundantly stocked with good clean vessels for most
houshold uses, being of different sizes, from half a pint to several

[Footnote A: _Gentleman's Magazine, Supplement, 1763. Extract of a
letter wrote from the island of Senegal, by Mr. Boone, practitioner of
physic there, to Dr. Brocklesby of London._

    "To form just idea of the unhealthiness of the climate, it will
    be necessary to conceive a country extending three hundred
    leagues East, and more to the North and South. Through this
    country several large rivers empty themselves into the sea;
    particularly the Sanaga, Gambia and Sherbro; these, during the
    rainy months, which begin in July and continue till October,
    overflow their banks, and lay the whole flat country under
    water; and indeed, the very sudden rise of these rivers is
    incredible to persons who have never been within the tropicks,
    and are unacquainted with the violent rains that fall there. At
    Galem, nine hundred miles from the mouth of the Sanaga, I am
    informed that the waters rise one hundred and fifty feet
    perpendicular, from the bed of the river. This information I
    received from a gentleman, who was surgeon's mate to a party
    sent there, and the only survivor of three captains command,
    each consisting of one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, a
    surgeon's mate, three serjeants, three corporals, and fifty

    "When the rains are at an end, which usually happens in October,
    the intense heat of the sun soon dries up the waters which lie
    on the higher parts of the earth, and the remainder forms lakes
    of stagnated waters, in which are found all sorts of dead
    animals. These waters every day decrease, till at last they are
    quite exhaled, and then the effluvia that arises is almost
    insupportable. At this season, the winds blow so very hot from
    off the land, that I can compare them to nothing but the heat
    proceeding from the mouth of an oven. This occasions the
    Europeans to be sorely vexed with bilious and putrid fevers.
    From this account you will not be surprized, that the total loss
    of British subjects in this island only, amounted to above two
    thousand five hundred, in the space of three years that I was
    there, in such a putrid moist air as I have described."


[Footnote B: James Barbot, agent general to the French African company,
in his account of Africa, page 105, says, "The natives are seldom
troubled with any distempers, being little affected with the unhealthy
air. In tempestuous times they keep much within doors; and when exposed
to the weather, their skins being suppled, and pores closed by daily
anointing with palm oil, the weather can make but little impression on

That part of Africa from which the Negroes are sold to be carried into
slavery, commonly known by the name of Guinea, extends along the coast
three or four thousand miles. Beginning at the river Senegal, situate
about the 17th degree of North latitude, being the nearest part of
Guinea, as well to Europe as to North America; from thence to the river
Gambia, and in a southerly course to Cape Sierra Leona, comprehends a
coast of about seven hundred miles; being the same tract for which Queen
Elizabeth granted charters to the first traders to that coast: from
Sierra Leona, the land of Guinea takes a turn to the eastward, extending
that course about fifteen hundred miles, including those several
civilians known by name of _the Grain Coast, the Ivory Coast, the Gold
Coast, and the Slave Coast, with the large kingdom of Benin_. From
thence the land runs southward along the coast about twelve hundred
miles, which contains the _kingdoms of Congo and Angola_; there the
trade for slaves ends. From which to the southermost Cape of Africa,
called the Cape of Good Hope, the country is settled by Caffres and
Hottentots, who have never been concerned in the making or selling

Of the parts which are above described, the first which presents itself
to view, is that situate on the great river Senegal, which is said to be
navigable more than a thousand miles, and is by travellers described to
be very agreeable and fruitful. Andrew Brue, principal factor for the
French African company, who lived sixteen years in that country, after
describing its fruitfulness and plenty, near the sea, adds,[A] "The
farther you go from the sea, the country on the river seems the more
fruitful and well improved; abounding with Indian corn, pulse, fruit,
&c. Here are vast meadows, which feed large herds of great and small
cattle, and poultry numerous: The villages that lie thick on the river,
shew the country is well peopled." The same author, in the account of a
voyage he made up the river Gambia, the mouth of which lies about three
hundred miles South of the Senegal, and is navigable about six hundred
miles up the country, says,[B] "That he was surprized to see the land so
well cultivated; scarce a spot lay unimproved; the low lands, divided by
small canals, were all formed with rice, &c. the higher ground planted
with millet, Indian corn, and pease of different sorts; their beef
excellent; poultry plenty, and very cheap, as well as all other
necessaries of life." Francis Moor, who was sent from England about the
year 1735, in the service of the African company, and resided at James
Fort, on the river Gambia, or in other factories on that river, about
five years, confirms the above account of the fruitfulness of the
country. William Smith, who was sent in the year 1726, by the African
company, to survey their settlements throughout the whole coast of
Guinea[C] says, "The country about the Gambia is pleasant and fruitful;
provisions of all kinds being plenty and exceeding cheap." The country
on and between the two above-mentioned rivers is large and extensive,
inhabited principally by those three Negro nations known by the name of
Jalofs, Fulis, and Mandingos. The Jalofs possess the middle of the
country. The Fulis principal settlement is on both sides of the Senegal;
great numbers of these people are also mixed with the Mandingos; which
last are mostly settled on both sides the Gambia. The government of the
Jalofs is represented as under a better regulation than can be expected
from the common opinion we entertain of the Negroes. We are told in the
Collection,[D] "That the King has under him several ministers of state,
who assist him in the exercise of justice. _The grand Jerafo_ is the
chief justice thro' all the King's dominions, and goes in circuit from
time to time to hear complaints, and determine controversies. _The
King's treasurer_ exercises the same employment, and has under him
Alkairs, who are governors of towns or villages. That the _Kondi_, or
_Viceroy_, goes the circuit with the chief justice, both to hear causes,
and inspect into the behaviour of the _Alkadi_, or chief magistrate of
every village in their several districts[E]." _Vasconcelas_, an author
mentioned in the collection, says, "The ancientest are preferred to be
the _Prince's counsellors_, who keep always about his person; and the
men of most judgment and experience are the judges." _The Fulis_ are
settled on both sides of the river _Senegal_: Their country, which is
very fruitful and populous, extends near four hundred miles from East to
West. They are generally of a deep tawny complexion, appearing to bear
some affinity with the Moors, whose country they join on the North. They
are good farmers, and make great harvest of corn, cotton, tobacco, &c.
and breed great numbers of cattle of all kinds. _Bartholomew Stibbs_,
(mentioned by _Fr. Moor_) in his account of that country says,[F] "_They
were a cleanly, decent, industrious people, and very affable_." But the
most particular account we have, of these people, is from _Francis Moor_
himself, who says,[G] "Some of these Fuli blacks who dwell on both sides
the river Gambia, are in subjection to the Mandingos, amongst whom they
dwell, having been probably driven out of their country by war or
famine. They have chiefs of their own, who rule with much moderation.
Few of them will drink brandy, or any thing stronger than water and
sugar, being strict Mahometans. Their form of government goes on easy,
because the people are of a good quiet disposition, and so well
instructed in what is right, that a man who does ill, is the abomination
of all, and, none will support him against the chief. In these
countries, the natives are not covetous of land, desiring no more than
what they use; and as they do not plough with horses and cattle, they
can use but very little, therefore the Kings are willing to give the
Fulis leave to live in their country, and cultivate their lands. If any
of their people are known to be made slaves, all the Fulis will join to
redeem them; they also support the old, the blind, and lame, amongst
themselves; and as far as their abilities go, they supply the
necessities of the Mandingos, great numbers of whom they have maintained
in famine." _The author_, from his own observations, says, "They were
rarely angry, and that he never heard them abuse one another."

[Footnote A: Astley's collect. vol. 2. page 46.]

[Footnote B: Astley's collection of voyages, vol. 2, page 86.]

[Footnote C: William Smith's voyage to Guinea, page 31, 34.]

[Footnote D: Astley's collection, vol. 2, page 358.]

[Footnote E: Idem. 259.]

[Footnote F: Moor's travels into distant parts of Africa, page 198.]

[Footnote G: Ibid, page 21.]

_The Mandingos_ are said by _A. Brue_ before mentioned, "To be the most
numerous nation on the Gambia, besides which, numbers of them are
dispersed over all these countries; being the most rigid Mahometans
amongst the Negroes, they drink neither wine nor brandy, and are politer
than the other Negroes. The chief of the trade goes through their hands.
Many are industrious and laborious, keeping their ground well
cultivated, and breeding a good stock of cattle.[A] Every town has an
_Alkadi_, or _Governor_, who has great power; for most of them having
two common fields of clear ground, one for corn, and the other for rice,
_the Alkadi_ appoints the labour of all the people. The men work the
corn ground, and the women and girls the rice ground; and as they all
equally labour, so he equally divides the corn amongst them; and in case
they are in want, the others supply them. This Alkadi decides all
quarrels, and has the first voice in all conferences in town affairs."
Some of these Mandingos who are settled at Galem, far up the river
Senegal, can read and write Arabic tolerably, and are a good hospitable
people, who carry on a trade with the inland nations."[B] They are
extremely populous in those parts, their women being fruitful, and they
not suffering any person amongst them, but such as are guilty of crimes,
to be made slaves." We are told from Jobson,"[C] That the Mahometan
Negroes say their prayers thrice a day. Each village has a priest who
calls them to their duty. It is surprizing (says the author) as well as
commendable, to see the modesty, attention, and reverence they observe
during their worship. He asked some of their priests the purport of
their prayers and ceremonies; their answer always was, _That they adored
God by prostrating themselves before him; that by humbling themselves,
they acknowledged their own insignificancy, and farther intreated him to
forgive their faults, and to grant them all good and necessary things as
well as deliverance from evil."_ Jobson takes notice of several good
qualities in these Negroe priests, particularly their great sobriety.
They gain their livelihood by keeping school for the education of the
children. The boys are taught to read and write. They not only teach
school, but rove about the country, teaching and instructing, for which
the whole country is open to them; and they have a free course through
all places, though the Kings may be at war with one another.

[Footnote A: Astley's collect. vol. 2, page 269.]

[Footnote B: Astley's collect. vol. 2, page 73.]

[Footnote C: Ibid, 296.]

The three fore-mentioned nations practise several trades, as smiths,
potters, sadlers, and weavers. Their smiths particularly work neatly in
gold and silver, and make knifes, hatchets, reaping hooks, spades and
shares to cut iron, &c. &c. Their potters make neat tobacco pipes, and
pots to boil their food. Some authors say that weaving is their
principal trade; this is done by the women and girls, who spin and weave
very fine cotton cloth, which they dye blue or black.[A] F. Moor says,
the Jalofs particularly make great quantities of the cotton cloth; their
pieces are generally twenty-seven yards long, and about nine inches
broad, their looms being very narrow; these they sew neatly together, so
as to supply the use of broad cloth.

[Footnote A: F. Moor, 28.]

It was in these parts of Guinea, that M. Adanson, correspondent of the
Royal Academy of Sciences at Paris, mentioned in some former
publications, was employed from the year 1749, to the year 1753, wholly
in making _natural_ and _philosophical_ observations on the country
about the rivers Senegal and Gambia. Speaking of the great heats in
Senegal, he says,[A] "It is to them that they are partly indebted for
the fertility of their lands; which is so great, that, with little
labour and care, there is no fruit nor grain but grow in great plenty."

[Footnote A: M. Adanson's voyage to Senegal, &c, page 308.]

Of the soil on the Gambia, he says,[A] "It is rich and deep, and
amazingly fertile; it produces spontaneously, and almost without
cultivation, all the necessaries of life, grain, fruit, herbs, and
roots. Every thing matures to perfection, and is excellent in its
kind."[B] One thing, which always surprized him, was the prodigious
rapidity with which the sap of trees repairs any loss they may happen to
sustain in that country: "And I was never," says he, "more astonished,
than when landing four days after the locusts had devoured all the
fruits and leaves, and even the buds of the trees, to find the trees
covered with new leaves, and they did not seem to me to have suffered
much."[C] "It was then," says the same author; "the fish season; you
might see them in shoals approaching towards land. Some of those shoals
were fifty fathom square, and the fish crowded together in such a
manner, as to roll upon one another, without being able to swim. As soon
as the Negroes perceive them coming towards land, they jump into the
water with a basket in one hand, and swim with the other. They need only
to plunge and to lift up their basket, and they are sure to return
loaded with fish." Speaking of the appearance of the country, and of the
disposition of the people, he says,[D] "Which way soever I turned mine
eyes on this pleasant spot, I beheld a perfect image of pure nature; an
agreeable solitude, bounded on every side by charming landscapes; the
rural situation of cottages in the midst of trees; the ease and
indolence of the Negroes, reclined under the shade of their spreading
foliage; the simplicity of their dress and manners; the whole revived in
my mind the idea of our first parents, and I seemed to contemplate the
world in its primitive state. They are, generally speaking, very
good-natured, sociable, and obliging. I was not a little pleased with
this my first reception; it convinced me, that there ought to be a
considerable abatement made in the accounts I had read and heard every
where of the savage character of the Africans. I observed both in
Negroes and Moors, great humanity and sociableness, which gave me strong
hopes that I should be very safe amongst them, and meet with the success
I desired in my enquiries after the curiosities of the country."[E] He
was agreeably amused with the conversation of the Negroes, their
_fables, dialogues_, and _witty stories_ with which they entertain each
other alternately, according to their custom. Speaking of the remarks
which the natives made to him, with relation to the _stars_ and
_planets_, he says, "It is amazing, that such a rude and illiterate
people, should reason so pertinently in regard to those heavenly bodies;
there is no manner of doubt, but that with proper instruments, and a
good will, they would become _excellent astronomers_."

[Footnote A: Idem, page 164.]

[Footnote B: M. Adanson, page 161.]

[Footnote C: Idem, page 171.]

[Footnote D: Ibid, page 54.]

[Footnote E: Adanson, page 252, ibid.]


_The Ivory Coast_; its soil and produce. The character of the _natives_
misrepresented by some authors. These misrepresentations occasioned by
_the Europeans_ having treacherously carried off many of their people.
_John Smith, surveyor to the African company_, his observations thereon.
_John Snock's_ remarks. _The Gold Coast_ and _Slave Coast_, these have
the most _European factories_, and furnish the greatest number of slaves
to _the Europeans_. Exceeding fertile. The country of _Axim_, and of
_Ante_. Good account of the _inland people_ Great fishery. Extraordinary
trade for slaves. _The Slave Coast. The kingdom of Whidah_. Fruitful and
pleasant. The natives kind and obliging. Very populous. Keep regular
markets and fairs. Good order therein. Murder, adultery, and theft
severely punished. The King's revenues. The principal people have an
idea of the true God. Commendable care of the poor. Several small
governments depend on _plunder_ and the _slave_ trade.

That part of Guinea known by the name of the _Grain_, and _Ivory Coast,_
comes next in course. This coast extends about five hundred miles. The
soil appears by account, to be in general fertile, producing abundance
of rice and roots; indigo and cotton thrive without cultivation, and
tobacco would be excellent, if carefully manufactured; they have fish in
plenty; their flocks greatly increase, and their trees are loaded with
fruit. They make a cotton cloth, which sells well on the Coast. In a
word, the country is rich, and the commerce advantageous, and might be
greatly augmented by such as would cultivate the friendship of the
natives. These are represented by some writers as a rude, _treacherous
people_, whilst several other _authors_ of credit give them a very
different character, representing them as _sensible, courteous and the
fairest traders on the coast of Guinea_. In the Collection, they are
said[A] to be averse to drinking to excess, and such as do, are severely
punished by the King's order: On enquiry why there is such a
disagreement in the character given of these people, it appears, that
though they are naturally inclined to be _kind to strangers_, with whom
they are _fond_ of _trading_, yet the _frequent injuries_ done them by
Europeans, have occasioned their being _suspicious and shy_. The same
cause has been the occasion of the ill treatment they have sometimes
given to innocent strangers, who have attempted to trade with them. As
the Europeans have no settlement on this part of Guinea, the trade is
carried on by signals from the ships, on the appearance of which the
natives usually come on board in their canoes, bringing their gold-dust,
ivory, &c. which has given opportunity to some villainous Europeans to
carry them off with their effects, or retain them on board till a ransom
is paid. It is noted by some, that since the European voyagers have
carried away several of these people, their mistrust is so great, that
it is very difficult to prevail on them to come on board. _William
Smith_ remarks,[B] "As we past along this coast, we very often lay
before a town, and fired a gun for the natives to come off, but no soul
came near us; at length we learnt by some ships that were trading down
the coast, that the natives came seldom on board an English ship, for
fear of being detained or carried off; yet last some ventured on board,
but if those chanced to spy any arms, they would all immediately take to
their canoes, and make the best of their way home. They had then in
their possession one _Benjamin Cross_ the mate of an English vessel, who
was detained by them to make reprisals for some of their men, who had
formerly been carried away by some English vessel." In the Collection we
are told,[C]_This villainous custom is too often practised, chiefly by
the Bristol and Liverpool ships, and is a great detriment to the slave
trade on the windward coast. John Snock, mentioned in Bosman_[D] when on
that coast, wrote, "We cast anchor, but not one Negro coming on board, I
went on shore, and after having staid a while on the strand, some
Negroes came to me; and being desirous to be informed why they did not
come on board, I was answered that about two months before, the English
had been there with two large vessels, and had ravaged the country,
destroyed all their canoes, plundered their houses, and carried off some
of their people, upon which the remainder fled to the inland country,
where most of them were that time; so that there being not much to be
done by us, we were obliged to return on board.[E] When I enquired after
their wars with other countries, they told me they were not often
troubled with them; but if any difference happened, they chose rather to
end the dispute amicably, than to come to arms."[F] He found the
inhabitants civil and good-natured. Speaking of the _King of Rio Seftré_
lower down the coast, he says, "He was a very agreeable, obliging man,
and that all his subjects are civil, as well as very laborious in
agriculture, and the pursuits of trade," _Marchais_ says,[G] "That
though the country is very populous, yet none of the natives (except
criminals) are sold for slaves." _Vaillant_ never heard of any
settlement being made by the Europeans on this part of _Guinea_; and
_Smith_ remarks,[H] "That these coasts, which are divided into several
little kingdoms, and have seldom any wars, is the reason the slave trade
is not so good here as on _the Gold and Slave Coast_, where the
Europeans have several forts and factories." A plain evidence this, that
it is the intercourse with the Europeans, and their settlements on the
coast, which gives life to the slave trade.

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 2, page 560.]

[Footnote B: W. Smith, page 111.]

[Footnote C: Astley's collection, vol. 2, page 475.]

[Footnote D: W. Bosman's description of Guinea, page 440.]

[Footnote E: W. Bosman's description of Guinea, page 429.]

[Footnote F: Ibid, 441.]

[Footnote G: Astley's collection, Vol. 2, page 565.]

[Footnote H: Smith's voyage to Guinea, page 112.]

Next adjoining to the _Ivory Coast_, are those called the _Gold Coast_,
and the _Slave Coast_; authors are not agreed about their bounds, but
their extent together along the coast may be about five hundred miles.
And as the policy, produce, and oeconomy of these two kingdoms of Guinea
are much the same, I shall describe them together.

Here the Europeans have the greatest number of forts and factories, from
whence, by means of the Negro sailors, a trade is carried on above seven
hundred miles back in the inland country; whereby great numbers of
slaves are procured, as well by means of the wars which arise amongst
the Negroes, or are fomented by the Europeans, as those brought from the
back country. Here we find the natives _more reconciled to the European
manners and trade_; but, at the same time, _much more inured to war_,
and ready to assist the European traders in procuring loadings for the
great number of vessels which come yearly on those coasts for slaves.
This part of Guinea is agreed by historians to be, in general,
_extraordinary fruitful and agreeable_; producing (according to the
difference of the soil) vast quantities of rice and other grain; plenty
of fruit and roots; palm wine and oil, and fish in great abundance, with
much tame and wild cattle. Bosman, principal factor for the Dutch at
D'Elmina, speaking of the country of Axim, which is situate towards the
beginning of the Gold Coast, says,[A] "The Negro inhabitants are
generally very rich, driving a great trade with the Europeans for gold.
That they are industriously employed either in trade, fishing, or
agriculture; but chiefly in the culture of rice, which grows here in an
incredible abundance, and is transported hence all over the Gold Coast.
The inhabitants, in lieu, returning full fraught with millet, jamms,
potatoes, and palm oil." The same author speaking of the country of
Ante, says,[B] "This country, as well as the Gold Coast, abounds with
hills, enriched with extraordinary high and beautiful trees; its
valleys, betwixt the hills, are wide and extensive, producing in great
abundance very good rice, millet, jamms, potatoes, and other fruits, all
good in their kind." He adds, "In short, it is a land that yields its
manurers as plentiful a crop as they can wish, with great quantities of
palm wine and oil, besides being well furnished with all sorts of tame,
as well as wild beasts; but that the last fatal wars had reduced it to a
miserable condition, and stripped it of most of its inhabitants." The
adjoining country of Fetu, he says,[C] "was formerly so powerful and
populous, that it struck terror into all the neighbouring nations; but
it is at present so drained by continual wars, that it is entirely
ruined; there does not remain inhabitants sufficient to till the
country, tho' it is so fruitful and pleasant that it may be compared to
the country of Ante just before described; frequently, says that author,
when walking through it before the last war, I have seen it abound with
fine well built and populous towns, agreeably enriched with vast
quantities of corn, cattle, palm wine, and oil. The inhabitants all
applying themselves without any distinction to agriculture; some sow
corn, others press oil, and draw wine from palm trees, with both which
it is plentifully stored."

[Footnote A: Bosman's description of the coast of Guinea, p, 5.]

[Footnote B: Idem, page 14.]

[Footnote C: Bosman, page 41.]

William Smith gives much the same account of the before-mentioned parts
of the Gold Coast, and adds, "The country about D'Elmina and Cape Coast,
is much the same for beauty and goodness, but more populous; and the
nearer we come towards the Slave Coast, the more delightful and rich all
the countries are, producing all sorts of trees, fruits, roots, and
herbs, that grow within the Torrid Zone." J. Barbot also remarks,[A]
with respect to the countries of Ante and Adom, "That the soil is very
good and fruitful in corn and other produce, which it affords in such
plenty, that besides what serves for their own use, they always export
great quantities for sale; they have a competent number of cattle, both
tame and wild, and the rivers abundantly stored with fish, so that
nothing is wanting for the support of life, and to make it easy." In the
Collection it is said,[B] "That the inland people on that part of the
coast, employ themselves in tillage and trade, and supply the market
with corn, fruit, and palm wine; the country producing such vast plenty
of Indian corn, that abundance is daily exported, as well by Europeans
as Blacks resorting thither from other parts." "These inland people are
said to live in great union and friendship, being generally well
tempered, civil, and tractable; not apt to shed human blood, except when
much provoked, and ready to assist one another."

[Footnote A: John Barbot's description of Guinea, page 154.]

[Footnote B: Astley's collect. vol. 2. page 535.]

In the Collection[A] it is said, "That the fishing business is esteemed
on the Gold Coast next to trading; that those who profess it are more
numerous than those of other employments. That the greatest number of
these are at Kommendo, Mina, and Kormantin. From each of which places,
there go out every morning, (Tuesday excepted, which is the Fetish day,
or day of rest) five, six, and sometimes eight hundred canoes, from
thirteen to fourteen feet long, which spread themselves two leagues at
sea, each fisherman carrying in his canoe a sword, with bread, water,
and a little fire on a large stone to roast fish. Thus they labour till
noon, when the sea breeze blowing fresh, they return on the shore,
generally laden with fish; a quantity of which the inland inhabitants
come down to buy, which they sell again at the country markets."

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 2, page 640.]

William Smith says,[A] "The country about Acra, where the English and
Dutch have each a strong fort, is very delightful, and the natives
courteous and civil to strangers." He adds, "That this place seldom
fails of an extraordinary good trade from the inland country, especially
for slaves, whereof several are supposed to come from very remote parts,
because it is not uncommon to find a Malayan or two amongst a parcel of
other slaves. The Malaya, people are generally natives of Malacca, in
the East Indies, situate several thousand miles from the Gold Coast."
They differ very much from the Guinea Negroes, being of a tawny
complexion, with long black hair.

[Footnote A: William Smith, page 145.]

Most parts of the Slave Coasts are represented as equally fertile and
pleasant with the Gold Coast. The kingdom of Whidah has been
particularly noted by travellers.[A] William Smith and Bosman agree,
"That it is one of the most delightful countries in the world. The great
number and variety of tall, beautiful, and shady trees, which seem
planted in groves, the verdant fields every where cultivated, and no
otherwise divided than by those groves, and in some places a small
foot-path, together with a great number of villages, contribute to
afford the most delightful prospect; the whole country being a fine
easy, and almost imperceptible ascent, for the space of forty or fifty
miles from the sea. That the farther you go from the sea, the more
beautiful and populous the country appears. That the natives were kind
and obliging, and so industrious, that no place which was thought
fertile, could escape being planted, even within the hedges which
inclose their villages. And that the next day after they had reaped,
they sowed again."

[Footnote A: Smith, page 194. Bosman, page 319.]

Snelgrave also says, "The country appears full of towns and villages;
and being a rich soil, and well cultivated, looks like an entire
garden." In the Collection,[A] the husbandry of the Negroes is described
to be carried on with great regularity: "The rainy season approaching,
they go into the fields and woods, to fix on a proper place for sowing;
and as here is no property in ground, the King's licence being obtained,
the people go out in troops, and first clear the ground from bushes and
weeds, which they burn. The field thus cleared, they dig it up a foot
deep, and so let it remain for eight or ten days, till the rest of their
neighbours have disposed their ground in the same manner. They then
consult about sowing, and for that end assemble at the King's Court the
next Fetish day. The King's grain must be sown first. They then go again
to the field, and give the ground a second digging, and sow their seed.
Whilst the King or Governor's land is sowing; he sends out wine and
flesh ready dressed; enough to serve the labourers. Afterwards, they in
like manner sow the ground, allotted for their neighbours, as diligently
as that of the King's, by whom they are also feasted; and so continue to
work in a body for the public benefit, till every man's ground is tilled
and sowed. None but the King, and a few great men, are exempted from
this labour. Their grain soon sprouts out of the ground. When it is
about a man's height, and begins to ear, they raise a wooden house in
the centre of the field, covered with straw, in which they set their
children to watch their corn, and fright away the birds."

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 2, page 651.]

Bosman[A] speaks in commendation of the civility, kindness, and great
industry of the natives of Whidah; this is confirmed by Smith,[B] who
says, "The natives here seem to be the most gentleman-like Negroes in
Guinea, abounding with good manners and ceremony to each other. The
inferior pay the utmost deference and, respect to the superior, as do
wives to their husbands, and children to their parents. All here are
naturally industrious, and find constant employment; the men in
agriculture, and the women in spinning and weaving cotton. The men,
whose chief talent lies in husbandry, are unacquainted with arms;
otherwise, being a numerous people, they could have made a better
defence against the King of Dahome, who subdued them without much
trouble.[C] Throughout the Gold Coast, there are regular markets in all
villages, furnished with provisions and merchandize, held every day in
the week, except Tuesday, whence they supply not only the inhabitants,
but the European ships. The _Negro women_ are very expert in buying and
selling, and extremely industrious; for they will repair daily to market
from a considerable distance, loaded like pack-horses, with a child,
perhaps, at their back, and a heavy burden on their heads. After selling
their wares, they buy fish and other necessaries, and return home loaded
as they came.

[Footnote A: Bosman, page 317.]

[Footnote B: Smith, page 195.]

[Footnote C: Collect, vol. 2, p. 657.]

"There is a market held at Sabi every, fourth day,[A] also a weekly one
in the province of Aplogua, which is so resorted to, that there are
usually five or six thousand merchants. Their markets are so well
regulated and governed, that seldom any disorder happens; each species
of merchandize and merchants have a place allotted them by themselves.
The buyers may haggle as much as they will, but it must be without noise
or fraud. To keep order, the King appoints a judge, who, with four
officers well armed, inspects the markets, hears all complaints, and, in
a summary way, decides all differences; he has power to seize, and sell
as slaves, all who are catched in stealing, or disturbing the peace. In
these markets are to be sold men, women, children, oxen, sheep, goats,
and fowls of all kinds; European cloths, linen and woollen; printed
callicoes, silk, grocery ware, china, golddust, iron in bars, &c. in a
word, most sorts of European goods, as well as the produce of Africa and
Asia. They have other markets, resembling our fairs, once or twice a
year, to which all the country repair; for they take care to order the
day so in different governments, as not to interfere with each other."

[Footnote A: Collect. vol. 3, p. 11.]

With respect to government, William Smith says,[A] "That the Gold Coast
and Slave Coast are divided into different districts, some of which are
governed by their Chiefs, or Kings; the others, being more of the nature
of a commonwealth are governed by some of the principal men, called
Caboceros, who, Bosman says, are properly denominated civil fathers,
whose province is to take care of the welfare of the city or village,
and to appease tumults." But this order of government has been much
broken since the coming of the Europeans. Both Bosman and Barbot mention
_murther and adultery to be severely punished on the Coast, frequently
by death; and robbery by a fine proportionable to the goods stolen_.

[Footnote A: Smith, page 193.]

The income of some of the Kings is large, Bosman says, "That the King of
Whidah's revenues and duties on things bought and sold are considerable;
he having the tithe of all things sold in the market, or imported in the
country."[A] Both the abovementioned authors say, _The tax on slaves
shipped off in this King's dominions, in some years, amounts to near
twenty thousand pounds_.

[Footnote A: Bosman, page 337. Barbot, page 335.]

Bosman tells us, "The Whidah Negroes have a faint idea of a true God,
ascribing to him the attributes of almighty power and omnipresence; but
God, they say, is too high to condescend to think of mankind; wherefore
he commits the government of the world to those inferior deities which
they worship." Some authors say, the wisest of these Negroes are
sensible of their mistake in this opinion, but dare not forsake their
own religion, for fear of the populace rising and killing them. This is
confirmed by William Smith, who says, "That all the natives of this
coast believe there is one true God, the author of them and all things;
that they have some apprehension of a future state; and that almost
every village has a grove, or public place of worship, to which the
principal inhabitants, on a set day, resort to make their offerings."

In the Collection[A] it is remarked as an excellency in the Guinea
government, "That however poor they may be in general, yet there are no
beggars to be found amongst them; which is owing to the care of their
chief men, whose province it is to take care of the welfare of the city
or village; it being part of their office, to see that such people may
earn their bread by their labour; some are set to blow the smith's
bellows, others to press palm oil, or grind colours for their matts, and
sell provision in the markets. The young men are listed to serve as
soldiers, so that they suffer no common beggar."

[Footnote A: Astley's collection, vol. 2, page 619.]

Bosman ascribes a further reason for this good order, viz. "That when a
Negroe finds he cannot subsist, he binds himself for a certain sum of
money, and the master to whom he is bound is obliged to find him
necessaries; that the master sets him a sort of task, which is not in
the least slavish, being chiefly to defend his master on occasions; or
in sowing time to work as much as he himself pleases."[A]

[Footnote A: Bosman, page 119.]

Adjoining to the kingdom of Whidah, are several small governments, as
Coto, great and small Popo, Ardrah, &c. all situate on the Slave Coast,
where the chief trade for slaves is carried on. These are governed by
their respective Kings, and follow much the same customs with those of
Whidah, except that their principal living is on plunder, and the slave


_The kingdom of Benin_; its extent. Esteemed the most potent in Guinea.
Fruitfulness of the soil. Good disposition of the people. Order of
government. Punishment of crimes. Large extent of the town of Great
Benin. Order maintained. The natives honest and charitable. Their
religion. The kingdoms of Kongo and Angola. Many of the natives profess
christianity. The country fruitful. Disposition of the people. The
administration of justice. The town of Leango. Slave trade carried on by
the Portugueze. Here the slave trade ends.

Next adjoining to the Slave Coast, is the kingdom of Benin, which,
though it extends but about 170 miles on the sea, yet spreads so far
inland, as to be esteemed the most potent kingdom in Guinea. By
accounts, the soil and produce appear to be in a great measure like
those before described; and the natives are represented as a reasonable
good-natured people. Artus says,[A] "They are a sincere, inoffensive
people, and do no injustice either to one another, or to strangers."
William Smith[B] confirms this account, and says, "That the inhabitants
are generally very good-natured, and exceeding courteous and civil. When
the Europeans make them presents, which in their coming thither to trade
they always do, they endeavour to return them doubly."

[Footnote A: Collection. vol. 3, page 228.]

[Footnote B: Smith, page 228.]

Bosman tells us,[A] "That his countrymen the Dutch, who were often
obliged to trust them till they returned the next year, were sure to be
honestly paid their whole debts."

[Footnote A: W. Bosman, page 405.]

There is in Benin a considerable order in government. Theft, murther,
and adultery, being severely punished. Barbot says,[A] "If a man and a
woman of any quality be surprized in adultery, they are both put to
death, and their bodies are thrown on a dunghill, and left there a prey
to wild beasts." He adds, "The severity of the laws in Benin against
adultery,[B] amongst all orders of people, deters them from venturing,
so that it is but very seldom any persons are punished for that crime."
Smith says, "Their towns are governed by officers appointed by the King,
who have power to decide in civil cases, and to raise the public taxes;
but in criminal cases, they must send to the King's court, which is held
at the town of Oedo, or Great Benin. This town, which covers a large
extent of ground, is about sixty mile from the sea."[C] Barbot tells us,
"That it contains thirty streets, twenty fathom wide, and almost two
miles long, commonly, extending in a straight line from one gate to
another; that the gates are guarded by soldiers; that in these streets
markets are held every day, for cattle, ivory, cotton, and many sorts of
European goods. This large town is divided into several wards, or
districts, each governed by its respective King of a street, as they
call them; to administer justice, and to keep good order. The
inhabitants are very civil and good natured, condescending to what the
Europeans require of them in a civil way." The same author confirms what
has been said by others of their justice in the payment of their debts;
and adds, "That they, above all other Guineans, are very honest and just
in their dealings; and they have such an aversion for theft, that by the
law of the country it is punished with death." We are told by the same
author,[D] "That the King of Benin is able upon occasion to maintain an
army of a hundred thousand men; but that, for the most part, he does not
keep thirty thousand." William Smith says, "The natives are all free
men; none but foreigners can be bought and sold there.[E] They are very
charitable, the King as well as his subjects." Bosman confirms this,[F]
and says, "The King and great Lords subsist several poor at their place
of residence on charity, employing those who are fit for any work, and
the rest they keep for God's sake; so that here are no beggars."

[Footnote A: Barbot, page 237.]

[Footnote B: By this account of the punishment inflicted on adulterers
in this and other parts of Guinea, it appears the Negroes are not
insensible of the sinfulness of such practices. How strange must it then
appear to the serious minded amongst these people, (nay, how
inconsistent is it with every divine and moral law amongst ourselves)
that those christian laws which prohibit fornication and adultery, are
in none of the English governments extended to them, but that they are
allowed to cohabit and separate at pleasure? And that even their masters
think so lightly of their marriage engagements, that, when it suits with
their interest, they will separate man from wife, and children from
both, to be sold into different, and even distant parts, without regard
to their sometimes grievous lamentations; whence it has happened, that
such of those people who are truly united in their marriage covenant,
and in affection to one another, have been driven to such desperation,
as either violently to destroy themselves, or gradually to pine away,
and die with mere grief. It is amazing, that whilst the clergy of the
established church are publicly expressing a concern, that these
oppressed people should be made acquainted with the christian religion,
they should be thus suffered, and even forced, so flagrantly to infringe
one of the principal injunctions of our holy religion!]

[Footnote C: J. Barbot, page 358, 359.]

[Footnote D: Barbot, page 369.]

[Footnote E: W. Smith, page 369.]

[Footnote F: Bosman, page 409.]

As to religion, these people believe there is a God, the efficient cause
of all things; but, like the rest of the Guineans, they are
superstitiously and idolatrously inclined.

The last division of Guinea from which slaves are imported, are the
kingdoms of Kongo and Angola: these lie to the South of Benin, extending
with the intermediate land about twelve hundred miles on the coast.
Great numbers of the natives of both these kingdoms profess the
christian religion, which was long since introduced by the Portugueze,
who made early settlements in that country.

In the Collection it is said, that both in Kongo and Angola, the soil is
in general fruitful, producing great plenty of grain, Indian corn, and
such quantities of rice, that it hardly bears any price, with fruits,
roots, and palm oil in plenty.

The natives are generally a quiet people, who discover a good
understanding, and behave in a friendly manner to strangers, being of a
mild conversation, affable, and easily overcome with reason.

In the government of Kongo, the King appoints a judge in every
particular division, to hear and determine disputes and civil causes;
the judges imprison and release, or impose fines, according to the rule
of custom; but in weighty matters, every one may appeal to the King,
before whom all criminal causes are brought, in which he giveth
sentence; but seldom condemneth to death.

The town of Leango stands in the midst of four Lordships, which abound
in corn, fruit, &c. Here they make great quantities of cloth of divers
kinds, very fine and curious; the inhabitants are seldom idle; they even
make needle-work caps as they walk in the streets.

The slave trade is here principally managed by the Portugueze, who carry
it far up into the inland countries. They are said to send off from
these parts fifteen thousand slaves each year.

At Angola, about the 10th degree of South latitude, ends the trade for


The antientest accounts of the Negroes is from the Nubian Geography, and
the writings of Leo the African. Some account of those authors. The
Arabians pass into Guinea. The innocency and simplicity of the natives.
They are subdued by the Moors. Heli Ischia shakes off the Moorish yoke.
The Portugueze make the first descent in Guinea. From whence they carry
off some of the natives. More incursions of the like kind. The
Portugueze erect the first fort at D'Elmina. They begin the slave trade.
Cada Mosto's testimony. Anderson's account to the same purport. De la
Casa's concern for the relief of the oppressed Indians. Goes over into
Spain to plead their cause. His speech before Charles the Fifth.

The most antient account we have of the country of the Negroes,
particularly that part situate on and between the two great rivers of
Senegal and Gambia, is from the writings of two antient authors, one an
Arabian, and the other a Moor. The first[A] wrote in Arabic, about the
twelfth century. His works, printed in that language at Rome, were
afterwards translated into Latin, and printed at Paris, under the
patronage of the famous Thuanus, chancellor of France, with the title of
_Geographica Nubiensis_, containing an account or all the nations lying
on the Senegal and Gambia. The other wrote by John Leo,[B] a Moor, born
at Granada, in Spain, before the Moors were totally expelled from that
kingdom. He resided in Africa; but being on a voyage from Tripoli to
Tunis, was taken by some Italian Corsairs, who finding him possessed of
several Arabian books, besides his own manuscripts, apprehended him to
be a man of learning, and as such presented him to Pope Leo the Tenth.
This Pope encouraging him, he embraced the Romish religion, and his
description of Africa was published in Italian. From these writings we
gather, that after the Mahometan religion had extended to the kingdom of
Morocco, some of the promoters of it crossing the sandy desarts of
Numidia, which separate that country from Guinea, found it inhabited by
men, who, though under no regular government, and destitute of that
knowledge the Arabians were favoured with, lived in content and peace.
The first author particularly remarks, "That they never made war, or
travelled abroad, but employed themselves in tending their herds, or
labouring in the ground." J. Leo says, page 65. "That they lived in
common, having no property in land, no tyrant nor superior lord, but
supported themselves in an equal state, upon the natural produce of the
country, which afforded plenty of roots, game, and honey. That ambition
or avarice never drove them into foreign countries to subdue or cheat
their neighbours. Thus they lived without toil or superfluities." "The
antient inhabitants of Morocco, who wore coats of mail, and used swords
and spears headed with iron, coming amongst these harmless and naked
people, soon brought them under subjection, and divided that part of
Guinea which lies on the rivers Senegal and Gambia into fifteen parts;
those were the fifteen kingdoms of the Negroes, over which the Moors
presided, and the common people were Negroes. These Moors taught the
Negroes the Mahometan religion, and arts of life; particularly the use
of iron, before unknown to them. About the 14th century, a native Negro,
called Heli Ischia, expelled the Moorish conquerors; but tho' the
Negroes threw off the yoke of a foreign nation, they only changed a
Libyan for a Negroe master. Heli Ischia himself becoming King, led the
Negroes on to foreign wars, and established himself in power over a very
large extent of country." Since Leo's time, the Europeans have had very
little knowledge of those parts of Africa, nor do they know what became
of his great empire. It is highly probable that it broke into pieces,
and that the natives again resumed many of their antient customs; for in
the account published by William Moor, in his travels on the river
Gambia, we find a mixture of the Moorish and Mahometan customs, joined
with the original simplicity of the Negroes. It appears by accounts of
antient voyages, collected by Hackluit, Purchas, and others, that it was
about fifty years before the discovery of America, that the Portugueze
attempted to sail round Cape Bojador, which lies between their country
and Guinea; this, after divers repulses occasioned by the violent
currents, they effected; when landing on the western coasts of Africa,
they soon began to make incursions into the country, and to seize and
carry off the native inhabitants. As early as the year 1434, Alonzo
Gonzales, the first who is recorded to have met with the natives, being
on that coast, pursued and attacked a number of them, when some were
wounded, as was also one of the Portugueze; which the author records as
the first blood spilt by christians in those parts. Six years after, the
same Gonzales again attacked the natives, and took twelve prisoners,
with whom he returned to his vessels; he afterwards put a woman on
shore, in order to induce the natives to redeem the prisoners; but the
next day 150 of the inhabitants appeared on horses and camels, provoking
the Portugueze to land; which they not daring to venture, the natives
discharged a volley of stones at them, and went off. After this, the
Portugueze still continued to send vessels on the coast of Africa;
particularly we read of their falling on a village, whence the
inhabitants fled, and, being pursued, twenty-five were taken: "_He that
ran best_," says the author, "_taking the most_. In their way home they
killed some of the natives, and took fifty-five more prisoners.[C]
Afterwards Dinisanes Dagrama, with two other vessels, landed on the
island Arguin, where they took fifty-four Moors; then running along the
coast eighty leagues farther, they at several times took fifty slaves;
but here seven of the Portugueze were killed. Then being joined by
several other vessels, Dinisanes proposed to destroy the island, to
revenge the loss of the seven Portugueze; of which the Moors being
apprized, fled, so that no more than twelve were found, whereof only
four could be taken, the rest being killed, as also one of the
Portugueze." Many more captures of this kind on the coast of Barbary and
Guinea, are recorded to have been made in those early times by the
Portugueze; who, in the year 1481, erected their first fort at D'Elmina
on that coast, from whence they soon opened a trade for slaves with the
inland parts of Guinea.

[Footnote A: See Travels into different parts of Africa, by Francis
Moor, with a letter to the publisher.]

[Footnote B: Ibid.]

[Footnote C: Collection, vol. 1, page 13.]

From the foregoing accounts, it is undoubted, that the practice of
making slaves of the Negroes, owes its origin to the early incursions of
the Portugueze on the coast of Africa, solely from an inordinate desire
of gain. This is clearly evidenced from their own historians,
particularly _Cada Mosto_, about the year 1455, who writes,[A] "That
before the trade was settled for purchasing slaves from the Moors at
Arguin, sometimes four, and sometimes more Portugueze vessels, were used
to come to that gulph, well armed; and landing by night, would surprize
some fishermen's villages: that they even entered into the country, and
carried off Arabs of both sexes, whom they sold in Portugal." And also,
"That the Portugueze and Spaniards, settled on four of the Canary
islands, would go to the other island by night, and seize some of the
natives of both sexes, whom they sent to be sold in Spain."

[Footnote A: Collection vol. 1, page 576.]

After the settlement of America, those devastations, and the captivating
the miserable Africans, greatly increased.

Anderson, in his history of trade and commerce, at page 336, speaking of
what passed in the year 1508, writes, "That the Spaniards had by this
time found that the miserable Indian natives, whom they had made to work
in their mines and fields, were not so robust and proper for those
purposes as Negroes brought from Africa; wherefore they, about that
time, began to import Negroes for that end into Hispaniola, from the
Portugueze settlements on the Guinea coasts; and also afterwards for
their sugar works." This oppression of the Indians had, even before this
time, rouzed the zeal, as well as it did the compassion, of some of the
truly pious of that day; particularly that of Bartholomew De las Casas,
bishop of Chapia; whom a desire of being instrumental towards the
conversion of the Indians, had invited into America. It is generally
agreed by the writers of that age, that he was a man of perfect
disinterestedness, and ardent charity; being affected with this sad
spectacle, he returned to the court of Spain, and there made a true
report of the matter; but not without being strongly opposed by those
mercenary wretches, who had enslaved the Indians; yet being strong and
indefatigable, he went to and fro between Europe and America, firmly
determined not to give over his pursuit but with his life. After long
solicitation, and innumerable repulses, he obtained leave to lay the
matter before the Emperor Charles the Fifth, then King of Spain. As the
contents of the speech he made before the King in council, are very
applicable to the case of the enslaved Africans, and a lively evidence
that the spirit of true piety speaks the same language in the hearts of
faithful men in all ages, for the relief of their fellow creatures from
oppression of every kind, I think it may not be improper here to
transcribe the most interesting parts of it. "I was," says this pious
bishop, "one of the first who went to America; neither curiosity nor
interest prompted me to undertake so long and dangerous a voyage; the
saving the souls of the heathen was my sole object. Why was I not
permitted, even at the expence of my blood, to ransom so many thousand
souls, who fell unhappy victims to avarice or lust? I have been an eye
witness to such cruel treatment of the Indians, as is too horrid to be
mentioned at this time.--It is said that barbarous executions were
necessary to punish or check the rebellion of the Americans;--but to
whom was this owing? Did not those people receive the Spaniards, who
first came amongst them, with gentleness and humanity? Did they not shew
more joy, in proportion, in lavishing treasure upon them, than the
Spaniards did greediness in receiving it?--But our avarice was not yet
satisfied;--tho' they gave up to us their land and their riches, we
would tear from them their wives, their children and their
liberties.--To blacken these unhappy people, their enemies assert, that
they are scarce human creatures?--but it is we that ought to blush, for
having been less men, and more barbarous, than they.--What right have we
to enslave a people who are born free, and whom we disturbed, tho' they
never offended us?--They are represented as a stupid people, addicted to
vice?--but have they not contracted most of their vices from the example
of the christians? And as to those vices peculiar to themselves, have
not the christians quickly exceeded them therein? Nevertheless it must
be granted, that the Indians still remain untainted with many vices
usual amongst the Europeans; such as ambition, blasphemy, treachery, and
many like monsters, which have not yet took place with them; they have
scarce an idea of them; so that in effect, all the advantage we can
claim, is to have more elevated notions of things, and our natural
faculties more unfolded and more cultivated than theirs.--Do not let us
flatter our corruptions, nor voluntarily blind ourselves; _all_ nations
are equally _free_; one nation has no right to infringe upon the freedom
of any other; let us do towards these people as we would have them to
have done towards us, if they had landed upon our shore, with the same
superiority of strength. And indeed, why should not things be equal on
both sides? How long has the right of the strongest been allowed to be
the balance of justice? What part of the gospel gives a sanction to such
a doctrine? In what part of the whole earth did the apostles and the
first promulgators of the gospel ever claim a right over the lives, the
freedom, or the substance of the Gentiles? What a strange method this is
of propagating the gospel, that holy law of grace, which, from being,
slaves to Satan, initiates us into the freedom of the children of
God!--Will it be possible for us to inspire them with a love to its
dictates, while they are so exasperated at being dispossessed of that
invaluable blessing, _Liberty?_ The apostles submitted to chains
themselves, but loaded no man with them. Christ came to free, not to
enslave us.--Submission to the faith he left us, ought to be a voluntary
act, and should be propagated by persuasion, gentleness, and reason."

"At my first arrival in Hispaniola, (added the bishop) it contained a
million of inhabitants; and now (viz. in the space of about twenty
years) there remains scarce the hundredth part of them; thousands have
perished thro' want, fatigue, merciless punishment, cruelty, and
barbarity. If the blood of _one_ man unjustly shed, calls loudly for
vengeance; how strong must be the cry of that of so _many_ unhappy
creatures which is shedding daily?"--The good bishop concluded his
speech, with imploring the King's clemency for subjects so unjustly
oppressed; and bravely declared, that heaven would one day call him to
an account, for the numberless acts of cruelty which he might have
prevented. The King applauded the bishop's zeal; promised to second it;
but so many of the great ones had an interest in continuing the
oppression, that nothing was done; so that all the Indians in
Hispaniola, except a few who had hid themselves in the most inaccessible
mountains, were destroyed.


First account of the English trading to Guinea. Thomas Windham and
several others go to that coast. Some of the Negroes carried off by the
English. Queen Elizabeth's charge to Captain Hawkins respecting the
natives. Nevertheless he goes on the coast and carries off some of the
Negroes. Patents are granted. The King of France objects to the Negroes
being kept in slavery. As do the college of Cardinals at Rome. The
natives, an inoffensive people; corrupted by the Europeans. The
sentiments of the natives concerning the slave-trade, from William
Smith: Confirmed by Andrew Brue and James Barbot.

It was about the year 1551, towards the latter end of the reign of King
Edward the Sixth, when some London merchants sent out the first English
ship, on a trading voyage to the coast of Guinea; this was soon followed
by several others to the same parts; but the English not having then any
plantations in the West Indies, and consequently no occasion for
Negroes, such ships traded only for gold, elephants teeth, and Guinea
pepper. This trade was carried on at the hazard of losing their ships
and cargoes, if they had fallen into the hands of the Portuguese, who
claimed an exclusive right of trade, on account of the several
settlements they had made there.[A] In the year 1553, we find captain
Thomas Windham trading along the coast with 140 men, in three ships, and
sailing as far as Benin, which lies about 3000 miles down the coast, to
take in a load of pepper.[B] Next year John Lock traded along the coast
of Guinea, as far as D'Elmina, when he brought away considerable
quantities of gold and ivory. He speaks well of the natives, and
says,[C] "_That whoever will deal with them must behave civilly, for
they will not traffic if ill used_." In 1555, William Towerson traded in
a peaceable manner with the natives, who made complaint to him of the
Portuguese, who were then settled in their castle at D'Elmina, saying,
"_They were bad men, who made them slaves if they could take them,
putting irons on their legs_."

[Footnote A: Astley's collection, vol. 1. page 139.]

[Footnote B: Collection vol. 1. p. 148.]

[Footnote C: Ibid. 257.]

This bad example of the Portuguese was soon followed by some evil
disposed Englishmen; for the same captain Towerson relates,[A] "That in
the course of his voyage, he perceived the natives, near D'Elmina,
unwilling to come to him, and that he was at last attacked by them;
which he understood was done in revenge for the wrong done them the year
before, by one captain Gainsh, who had taken away the Negro captain's
son, and three others, with their gold, &c. This caused them to join the
Portuguese, notwithstanding their hatred of them, against the English."
The next year captain Towerson brought these men back again; whereupon
the Negroes shewed him much kindness.[B] Quickly after this, another
instance of the same kind occurred, in the case of captain George
Fenner, who being on the coast, with three vessels, was also attacked by
the Negroes, who wounded several of his people, and violently carried
three of his men to their town. The captain sent a messenger, offering
any thing they desired for the ransom of his men: but they refused to
deliver them, letting him know, "_That three weeks before, an English
ship, which came in the road, had carried off three of their people; and
that till they were brought again, they would not restore his men, even
tho' they should give their three ships to release them_." It was
probably the evil conduct of these, and some other Englishmen, which was
the occasion of what is mentioned in Hill's naval history, viz. "That
when captain Hawkins returned from his first voyage to Africa, Queen
Elizabeth sent for him, when she expressed her concern, lest any of the
African Negroes should be carried off without their free consent; which
she declared would be detestable, and would call down the vengeance of
heaven upon the undertakers." Hawkins made great promises, which
nevertheless he did not perform; for his next voyage to the coast
appears to have been principally calculated to procure Negro slaves, in
order to sell them to the Spaniards in the West Indies; which occasioned
the same author to use these remarkable words: "_Here began the horrid
practice of forcing the Africans into slavery: an injustice and
barbarity, which, so sure as there is vengeance in heaven for the worst
of crimes, will some time be the destruction of all who act or who
encourage it_." This captain Hawkins, afterwards sir John Hawkins, seems
to have been the first Englishman who gave public countenance to this
wicked traffic: For Anderson, before mentioned, at page 401, says, "That
in the year 1562, captain Hawkins, assisted by subscription of sundry
gentlemen, now fitted out three ships; and having learnt that Negroes
were a very good commodity in Hispaniola, he sailed to the coast of
Guinea, took in Negroes, and sailed with them for Hispaniola, where he
sold them, and his English commodities, and loaded his three vessels
with hides, sugar and ginger, &c. with which he returned home anno 1563,
making a prosperous voyage." As it proved a lucrative business, the
trade was continued both by Hawkins and others, as appears from the
naval chronicle, page 55, where it is said, "That on the 18th of
October, 1564, captain John Hawkins, with two ships of 700 and 140 tuns,
sailed for Africa; that on the 8th of December they anchored to the
South of Cape Verd, where the captain manned the boat, and sent eighty
men in armour into the country, to see if they could take some Negroes;
but the natives flying from them, they returned to their ships, and
proceeded farther down the coast. Here they staid certain days, sending
their men ashore, in order (as the author says) to burn and spoil their
towns and take the inhabitants. The land they observed to be well
cultivated, there being plenty of grain, and fruit of several sorts, and
the towns prettily laid out. On the 25th, being informed by the
Portugueze of a town of Negroes called Bymba, where there was not only a
quantity of gold, but an hundred and forty inhabitants, they resolved to
attack it, having the Portugueze for their guide; but by mismanagement
they took but ten Negroes, having seven of their own men killed, and
twenty-seven wounded. They then went farther down the coast; when,
having procured a number of Negroes, they proceeded to the West Indies,
where they sold them to the Spaniards." And in the same naval chronicle,
at page 76, it is said, "That in the year 1567, Francis Drake, before
performing his voyage round the world, went with Sir John Hawkins in his
expedition to the coast of Guinea, where taking in a cargo of slaves,
they determined to steer for the Caribbee islands." How Queen Elizabeth
suffered so grievous an infringement of the rights of mankind to be
perpetrated by her subjects, and how she was persuaded, about the 30th
year of her reign, to grant patents for carrying on a trade from the
North part of the river Senegal, to an hundred leagues beyond Sierra
Leona, which gave rise to the present African company, is hard to
account for, any otherwise than that it arose from the misrepresentation
made to her of the situation of the Negroes, and of the advantages it
was pretended they would reap from being made acquainted with the
christian religion. This was the case of Lewis the XIIIth, King of
France, who, Labat, in his account of the isles of America, tells us,
"Was extremely uneasy at a law by which the Negroes of his colonies were
to be made slaves; but it being strongly urged to him as the readiest
means for their conversion to christianity, he acquiesced therewith."
Nevertheless, some of the christian powers did not so easily give way in
this matter; for we find,[C] "That cardinal Cibo, one of the Pope's
principal ministers of state, wrote a letter on behalf of the college of
cardinals, or great council at Rome, to the missionaries in Congo,
complaining that the pernicious and abominable abuse of selling slaves
was yet continued, requiring them to remedy the same, if possible; but
this the missionaries saw little hopes of accomplishing, by reason that
the trade of the country lay wholly in slaves and ivory."

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 1. p. 148.]

[Footnote B: Ibid. 157.]

[Footnote C: Collection, vol. 3, page 164.]

From the foregoing accounts, as well as other authentic publications of
this kind, it appears that it was the unwarrantable lust of gain, which
first stimulated the Portugueze, and afterwards other Europeans, to
engage in this horrid traffic. By the most authentic relations of those
early times, the natives were an inoffensive people, who, when civilly
used, traded amicably with the Europeans. It is recorded of those of
Benin, the largest kingdom in Guinea,[A]_That they were a gentle, loving
people_; and Reynold says,[B] "_They found more sincere proofs of love
and good will from the natives, than they could find from the Spaniards
and Portugueze, even tho' they had relieved them from the greatest
misery_." And from the same relations there is no reason to think
otherwise, but that they generally lived in peace amongst themselves;
for I don't find, in the numerous publications I have perused on this
subject, relating to these early times, of there being wars on that
coast, nor of any sale of captives taken in battle, who would have been
otherwise sacrificed by the victors:[C] Notwithstanding some modern
authors, in their publications relating to the West Indies, desirous of
throwing a veil over the iniquity of the slave trade, have been hardy
enough, upon meer supposition or report, to assert the contrary.

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 1, page 202.]

[Footnote B: Idem, page 245.]

[Footnote C: Note, This plea falls of itself, for if the Negroes
apprehended they should be cruelly put to death, if they were not sent
away, why do they manifest such reluctance and dread as they generally
do, at being brought from their native country? William Smith, at page
28, says, "_The Gambians abhor slavery, and will attempt any thing, tho'
never so desperate, to avoid it_," and Thomas Philips, in his account of
a voyage he performed to the coast of Guinea, writes, "_They, the
Negroes, are so loth to leave their own country, that they have often
leaped out of the canoe, boat, or ship, into the sea, and kept under
water till they were drowned, to avoid being taken up_."]

It was long after the Portugueze had made a practice of violently
forcing the natives of Africa into slavery, that we read of the
different Negroe nations making war upon each other, and selling their
captives. And probably this was not the case, till those bordering on
the coast, who had been used to supply the vessels with necessaries, had
become corrupted by their intercourse with the Europeans, and were
excited by drunkenness and avarice to join them in carrying on those
wicked schemes, by which those unnatural wars were perpetrated; the
inhabitants kept in continual alarms; the country laid waste; and, as
William Moor expresses it, _Infinite numbers sold into slavery_. But
that the Europeans are the principal cause of these devastations, is
particularly evidenced by one, whose connexion with the trade would
rather induce him to represent it in the fairest colours, to wit,
William Smith, the person sent in the year 1726 by the African company
to survey their settlements, who, from the information he received of
one of the factors, who had resided ten years in that country, says,[A]
"_That the discerning natives account it their greatest unhappiness,
that they were ever visited by the Europeans."--"That we christians
introduced the traffick of slaves; and that before our coming they lived
in peace_."

[Footnote A: William Smith, page 266.]

In the accounts relating to the African trade, we find this melancholy
truth farther asserted by some of the principal directors in the
different factories; particularly A. Brue says,[A] "_That the Europeans
were far from desiring to act as peace-makers amongst the Negroes; which
would be acting contrary to their interest, since the greater the wars,
the more slaves were procured_," And William Bosman also remarks,[B]
"That one of the former commanders _gave large sums of money to the
Negroes of one nation, to induce them to attack some of the neighbouring
nations, which occasioned a battle which was more bloody than the wars
of the Negroes usually are_." This is confirmed by J. Barbot, who says,
"_That the country of D'Elmina, which was formerly very powerful and
populous, was in his time so much drained of its inhabitants by the
intestine wars fomented amongst the Negroes by the Dutch, that there did
not remain inhabitants enough to till the country_."

[Footnote A: Collection, vol. 2, page 98.]

[Footnote B: Bosman, page 31.]


The conduct of the Europeans and Africans compared. Slavery more
tolerable amongst the antients than in our colonies. As christianity
prevailed amongst the barbarous nations, the inconsistency of slavery
became more apparent. The charters of manumission, granted in the early
times of christianity, founded on an apprehension of duty to God. The
antient Britons, and other European nations, in their original state, no
less barbarous than the Negroes. Slaves in Guinea used with much greater
lenity than the Negroes are in the colonies.--Note. How the slaves are
treated in Algiers, as also in Turkey.

Such is the woeful corruption of human nature, that every practice which
flatters our pride and covetousness, will find its advocates! This is
manifestly the case in the matter before us; the savageness of the
Negroes in some of their customs, and particularly their deviating so
far from the feelings of humanity, as to join in captivating and selling
each other, gives their interested oppressors a pretence for
representing them as unworthy of liberty, and the natural rights of
mankind. But these sophisters turn the argument full upon themselves,
when they instigate the poor creatures to such shocking impiety, by
every means that fantastic subtilty can suggest; thereby shewing in
their own conduct, a more glaring proof of the same depravity, and, if
there was any reason in the argument, a greater unfitness for the same
precious enjoyment: for though some of the ignorant Africans may be thus
corrupted by their intercourse with the baser of the European natives,
and the use of strong liquors, this is no excuse for high-professing
christians; bred in a civilized country, with so many advantages unknown
to the Africans, and pretending to a superior degree of gospel light.
Nor can it justify them in raising up fortunes to themselves from the
misery of others, and calmly projecting voyages for the seizure of men
naturally as free as themselves; and who, they know, are no otherwise to
be procured than by such barbarous means, as none but those hardened
wretches, who are lost to every sense of christian compassion, can make
use of. Let us diligently compare, and impartially weigh, the situation
of those ignorant Negroes, and these enlightened christians; then lift
up the scale and say, which of the two are the greater savages.

Slavery has been of a long time in practice in many parts of Asia; it
was also in usage among the Romans when that empire flourished; but,
except in some particular instances, it was rather a reasonable
servitude, no ways comparable to the unreasonable and unnatural service
extorted from the Negroes in our colonies. A late learned author,[A]
speaking of those times which succeeded the dissolution of that empire,
acquaints us, that as christianity prevailed, it very much removed those
wrong prejudices and practices, which had taken root in darker times:
after the irruption of the Northern nations, and the introduction of the
feudal or military government, whereby the most extensive power was
lodged in a few members of society, to the depression of the rest, the
common people were little better than slaves, and many were indeed such;
but as christianity gained ground, the gentle spirit of that religion,
together with the doctrines it teaches, concerning the original equality
of mankind, as well as the impartial eye with which the Almighty regards
men of every condition, and admits them to a participation of his
benefits; so far manifested the inconsistency of slavery with
christianity, that to set their fellow christians at liberty was deemed
an act of piety, highly meritorious and acceptable to God.[B]
Accordingly a great part of the charters granted for the manumission or
freedom of slaves about that time, are granted _pro amore Dei, for the
love of God, pro mercede animae, to obtain mercy to the soul_.
Manumission was frequently granted on death-beds, or by latter wills. As
the minds of men are at that time awakened to sentiments of humanity and
piety, these deeds proceeded from religious motives. The same author
remarks, That there are several forms of those manumissions still
extant, all of them founded _on religious considerations_, and _in order
to procure the favour of God_. Since that time, the practice of keeping
men in slavery gradually ceased amongst christians, till it was renewed
in the case before us. And as the prevalency of the spirit of
christianity caused men to emerge from the darkness they then lay under,
in this respect; so it is much to be feared that so great a deviation
therefrom, by the encouragement given to the slavery of the Negroes in
our colonies, if continued, will, by degrees, reduce those countries
which support and encourage it but more immediately those parts of
America which are in the practice of it, to the ignorance and barbarity
of the darkest ages.

[Footnote A: See Robertson's history of Charles the 5th.]

[Footnote B: In the years 1315 and 1318, Louis X. and his brother
Philip, Kings of France, issued ordonnances, declaring, "That as all men
were by nature free-born, and as their kingdom was called the kingdom of
Franks, they determined that it should be so in reality, as well as in
name; therefore they appointed that enfranchisements should be granted
throughout the whole kingdom, upon just and reasonable conditions."
"These edicts were carried into immediate execution within the royal
domain."--"In England, as the spirit of liberty gained ground, the very
name and idea of personal servitude, without any formal interposition of
the legislature to prohibit it, was totally banished." "The effects of
such a remarkable change in the condition of so great a part of the
people, could not fail of being considerable and extensive. The
husbandman, master of his own industry, and secure of reaping for
himself the fruits of his labour, became farmer of the same field where
he had formerly been compelled to toil for the benefit of another. The
odious name of master and of slave, the most mortifying and depressing
of all distinctions to human nature, were abolished. New prospects
opened, and new incitements to ingenuity and enterprise presented
themselves, to those who were emancipated. The expectation of bettering
their fortune, as well as that of raising themselves to a more
honourable condition, concurred in calling forth their activity and
genius; and a numerous class of men, who formerly had no political
existence, and were employed merely as instruments of labour, became
useful citizens, and contributed towards augmenting the force or riches
of the society, which adopted them as members." William Robertson's
history of Charles the 5th, vol. 1, P. 35. ]

If instead of making slaves of the Negroes, the nations who assume the
name and character of christians, would use their endeavours to make the
nations of Africa acquainted with the nature of the christian religion,
to give them a better sense of the true use of the blessings of life,
the more beneficial arts and customs would, by degrees, be introduced
amongst them; this care probably would produce the same effect upon
them, which it has had on the inhabitants of Europe, formerly as savage
and barbarous as the natives of Africa. Those cruel wars amongst the
blacks would be likely to cease, and a fair and honorable commerce, in
time, take place throughout that vast country. It was by these means
that the inhabitants of Europe, though formerly a barbarous people,
became civilized. Indeed the account Julius Caesar gives of the ancient
Britons in their state of ignorance, is not such as should make us proud
of ourselves, or lead us to despise the unpolished nations of the earth;
for he informs us, "That they lived in many respects like our Indians,
being clad with skins, painting their bodies, &c." He also adds, "That
they, brother with brother, and parents with children, had wives in
common." A greater barbarity than any heard of amongst the Negroes. Nor
doth Tacitus give a more honourable account of the Germans, from whom
the Saxons, our immediate ancestors, sprung. The Danes, who succeeded
them (who may also be numbered among our progenitors) were full as bad,
if not worse.

It is usual for people to advance as a palliation in favour of keeping
the Negroes in bondage, that there are slaves in Guinea, and that those
amongst us might be so in their own country; but let such consider the
inconsistency of our giving any countenance to slavery, because the
Africans, whom we esteem a barbarous and savage people, allow of it, and
perhaps the more from our example. Had the professors of christianity
acted indeed as such, they might have been instrumental to convince the
Negroes of their error in this respect; but even this, when inquired
into, will be to us an occasion of blushing, if we are not hardened to
every sense of shame, rather than a _palliation_ of our iniquitous
conduct; as it will appear that the slavery endured in Guinea, and other
parts of Africa, and in Asia,[A] is by no means so grievous as that in
our colonies. William Moor, speaking of the natives living on the river
Gambia,[B] says, "Tho' some of the Negroes have many house slaves, which
are their greatest glory; that those slaves live so well and easy, that
it is sometimes a hard matter to know the slaves from their masters or
mistresses. And that though in some parts of Africa they sell their
slaves born in the family, yet on the river Gambia they think it a very
wicked thing." The author adds, "He never heard of but one that ever
sold a family slave, except for such crimes as they would have been sold
for if they had been free." And in Astley's collection, speaking of the
customs of the Negroes in that large extent of country further down the
coast, particularly denominated the coast of Guinea, it is said,[C]
"They have not many slaves on the coast; none but the King or nobles are
permitted to buy or sell any; so that they are allowed only what are
necessary for their families, or tilling the ground." The same author
adds, "_That they generally use their slaves well, and seldom correct

[Footnote A: In the history of the piratical states of Barbary, printed
in 1750, _said to be_ wrote by a person who resided at Algiers, in a
public character, at page 265 the author says, "The world exclaims
against the Algerines for their cruel treatment of their slaves, and
their employing even tortures to convert them to mahometism: but this is
a vulgar error, artfully propagated for selfish views. So far are their
slaves from being ill used, that they must have committed some very
great fault to suffer any punishment. Neither are they forced to work
beyond their strength, but rather spared, lest they should fall sick.
Some are so pleased with their situation, that they will not purchase
their ransom, though they are able." It is the same generally through
the Mahometan countries, except in some particular instances, as that of
Muley Ishmael, late Emperor of Morocco, who being naturally barbarous,
frequently used both his subjects and slaves with cruelty. Yet even
under him the usage the slaves met with was, in general, much more
tolerable than that of the Negroe slaves in the West Indies. Captain
Braithwaite, an author of credit, who accompanied consul general Russel
in a congratulatory ambassy to Muley Ishmael's successor, upon his
accession to the throne, says, "The situation of the christian slaves in
Morocco was not near so bad as represented.--That it was true they were
kept at labour by the late Emperor, but not harder than our daily
labourers go through.--Masters of ships were never obliged to work, nor
such as had but a small matter of money to give the Alcaide.--When sick,
they had a religious house appointed for them to go to, where they were
well attended: and whatever money in charity was sent them by their
friends in Europe, was their own." Braithwaite's revolutions of Morocco.
Lady Montague, wife of the English ambassador at Constantinople, in her
letters, vol. 3. page 20, writes, "I know you expect I should say
something particular of the slaves; and you will imagine me half a Turk,
when I do not speak of it with the same horror other christians have
done before me; but I cannot forbear applauding the humanity of the
Turks to these creatures; they are not ill used; and their slavery, in
my opinion, is no worse than servitude all over the world. It is true
they have no wages, but they give them yearly cloaths to a higher value
than our salaries to our ordinary servants." ]

[Footnote B: W. Moor, p. 30]

[Footnote C: Collection vol. 2. p. 647.]


Montesquieu's sentiments on slavery. Moderation enjoined by the Mosaic
law in the punishment of offenders. Morgan Godwyn's account of the
contempt and grievous rigour exercised upon the Negroes in his time.
Account from Jamaica, relating to the inhuman treatment of them there.
Bad effects attendant on slave-keeping, as well to the masters as the
slaves. Extracts from several laws relating to Negroes. Richard Baxter's
sentiments on slave-keeping.

That celebrated civilian Montesquieu, in his treatise _on the spirit of
laws_, on the article of slavery says, "_It is neither useful to the
master nor slave; to the slave, because he can do nothing through
principle (or virtue); to the master, because he contracts with his
slave all sorts of bad habits, insensibly accustoms himself to want all
moral virtues; becomes haughty, hasty, hard-hearted, passionate,
voluptuous, and cruel_." The lamentable truth of this assertion was
quickly verified in the English plantations. When the practice of
slave-keeping was introduced, it soon produced its natural effects; it
reconciled men, of otherwise good dispositions, to the most hard and
cruel measures. It quickly proved, what, under the law of Moses, was
apprehended would be the consequence of unmerciful chastisements. Deut.
xxv. 2. "_And it shall be if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that
the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face,
according to his fault, by a certain number; forty stripes he may give
him, and not exceed_." And the reason rendered, is out of respect to
human nature, viz. "_Lest if he should exceed, and beat him above these
with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee_." As
this effect soon followed the cause, the cruelest measures were adopted,
in order to make the most of the poor _wretches_ labour; and in the
minds of the masters such an idea was excited of inferiority, in the
nature of these their unhappy fellow creatures, that they soon esteemed
and treated them as beasts of burden: pretending to doubt, and some of
them even presuming to deny, that the efficacy of the death of Christ
extended to them. Which is particularly noted in a book, intitled _The
Negroes and Indians advocate_, dedicated to the then Archbishop of
Canterbury, wrote so long since as in the year 1680, by Morgan Godwyn,
thought to be a clergyman of the church of England.[A] The same spirit
of sympathy and zeal which stirred up the good Bishop of Chapia to plead
with so much energy the kindred cause of the Indians of America, an
hundred and fifty years before, was equally operating about a century
past on the minds of some of the well disposed of that day; amongst
others this worthy clergyman, having been an eye witness of the
oppression and cruelty exercised upon the Negro and Indian slaves,
endeavoured to raise the attention of those, in whose power it might be
to procure them relief; amongst other matters, in his address to the
Archbishop, he remarks in substance, "That the people of the island of
Barbadoes were not content with exercising the greatest hardness and
barbarity upon the Negroes, in making the most of their labour, without
any regard to the calls of humanity, but that they had suffered such a
slight and undervaluement to prevail in their minds towards these their
oppressed fellow creatures, as to discourage any step being taken,
whereby they might be made acquainted with the christian religion. That
their conduct towards their slaves was such as gave him reason to
believe, that either they had suffered a spirit of infidelity, a spirit
quite contrary to the nature of the gospel, to prevail in them, or that
it must be their established opinion that the Negroes had no more souls
than beasts; that hence they concluded them to be neither susceptible of
religious impressions, nor fit objects for the redeeming grace of God to
operate upon. That under this persuasion, and from a disposition of
cruelty, they treated them with far less humanity than they did their
cattle; for, says he, they do not starve their horses, which they expect
should both carry and credit them on the road; nor pinch the cow, by
whose milk they are sustained; which yet, to their eternal shame, is too
frequently the lot and condition of those poor people, from whose labour
their wealth and livelihood doth wholly arise; not only in their diet,
but in their cloathing, and overworking some of them even to death
(which is particularly the calamity of the most innocent and laborious)
but also in tormenting and whipping them almost, and sometimes quite, to
death, upon even small miscarriages. He apprehends it was from this
prejudice against the Negroes, that arose those supercilious checks and
frowns he frequently met with, when using innocent arguments and
persuasions, in the way of his duty as a minister of the gospel, to
labour for the convincement and conversion of the Negroes; being
repeatedly told, with spiteful scoffings, (even by some esteemed
religious) that the Negroes were no more susceptible of receiving
benefit, by becoming members of the church, than their dogs and bitches.
The usual answer he received, when exhorting their masters to do their
duty in that respect, being, _What! these black dogs be made christians!
what! they be made like us! with abundance more of the same_.
Nevertheless, he remarks that the Negroes were capable, not only of
being taught to read and write, &c. but divers of them eminent in the
management of business. He declares them to have an equal right with us
to the merits of Christ; of which if through neglect or avarice they are
deprived, that judgment which was denounced against wicked Ahab, must
befal us: _Our life shall go for theirs_. The loss of their souls will
be required at our hands, to whom God hath given so blessed an
opportunity of being instrumental to their salvation."

[Footnote A: "There is a principle which is pure, placed in the human
mind, which in different places or ages hath had different names; it is,
however, pure, and proceeds from God.--It is deep and inward, confined
to no forms of religion, nor excluded from any, where the heart stands
in perfect sincerity. In whomsoever this takes root and grows, of what
nation soever, they become brethren in the best sense of the expression.
Using ourselves to take ways which appear most easy to us, when
inconsistent with that purity which is without beginning, we thereby set
up a government of our own, and deny obedience to Him whose service is
true liberty. He that has a servant, made so wrongfully, and knows it to
be so, when he treats him otherwise than a free man, when he reaps the
benefit of his labour, without paying him such wages as are reasonably
due to free men for the like service; these things, though done in
calmness, without any shew of disorder, do yet deprave the mind, in like
manner, and with as great certainty, as prevailing cold congeals water.
These steps taken by masters, and their conduct striking the minds of
their children, whilst young, leave less room for that which is good to
work upon them. The customs of their parents, their neighbours, and the
people with whom they converse, working upon their minds, and they from
thence conceiving wrong ideas of things, and modes of conduct, the
entrance into their hearts becomes in a great measure shut up against
the gentle movings of uncreated purity.

"From one age to another the gloom grows thicker and darker, till error
gets established by general opinion; but whoever attends to perfect
goodness, and remains under the melting influence of it, finds a path
unknown to many, and sees the necessity to lean upon the arm of divine
strength, and dwell alone, or with a few in the right, committing their
cause to him who is a refuge to his people. Negroes are our fellow
creatures, and their present condition among us requires our serious
consideration. We know not the time, when those scales, in which
mountains are weighed, may turn. The parent of mankind is gracious, his
care is over his smallest creatures, and a multitude of men escape not
his notice; and though many of them are trodden down and despised, yet
he remembers them. He seeth their affliction, and looketh upon the
spreading increasing exaltation of the oppressor. He turns the channel
of power, humbles the most haughty people, and gives deliverance to the
oppressed, at such periods as are consistent with his infinite justice
and goodness. And wherever gain is preferred to equity, and wrong things
publickly encouraged, to that degree that wickedness takes root and
spreads wide amongst the inhabitants of a country, there is a real cause
for sorrow, to all such whose love to mankind stands on a true
principle, and wisely consider the end and event of things."
Consideration on keeping Negroes, by John Woolman, part 2. p. 50.]

He complains, "That they were suffered to live with their women in no
better way than direct fornication; no care being taken to oblige them
to continue together when married; but that they were suffered at their
will to leave their wives, and take to other women." I shall conclude
this sympathizing clergyman's observations, with an instance he gives,
to shew, "that not only discouragements and scoffs at that time
prevailed in Barbadoes, to establish an opinion that the Negroes were
not capable of religious impressions, but that even violence and great
abuses were used to prevent any thing of the kind taking place. It was
in the case of a poor Negro, who having, at his own request, prevailed
on a clergyman to administer baptism to him, on his return home the
brutish overseer took him to task, giving him to understand, that that
was no sunday's work for those of his complexion; that he had other
business for him, the neglect whereof would cost him an afternoon's
baptism in blood, as he in the morning had received a baptism with
water, (these, says the clergyman, were his own words) which he
accordingly made good; of which the Negro complained to him, and he to
the governor; nevertheless, the poor miserable creature was ever after
so unmercifully treated by that inhuman wretch, the overseer, that, to
avoid his cruelty, betaking himself to the woods, he there perished."
This instance is applicable to none but the cruel perpetrator; and yet
it is an instance of what, in a greater or less degree, may frequently
happen, when those poor wretches are left to the will of such brutish
inconsiderate creatures as those overseers often are. This is confirmed
in a _History of Jamaica_, wrote in thirteen letters, about the year
1740, by a person then residing in that island, who writes as follows,
"I shall not now enter upon the question, whether the slavery of the
Negroes be agreeable to the laws of nature or not; though it seems
extremely hard they should be reduced to serve and toil for the benefit
of others, without the least advantage to themselves. Happy Britannia,
where slavery is never known! where liberty and freedom chears every
misfortune. Here (_says the author_) we can boast of no such blessing;
we have at least ten slaves to one freeman. I incline to touch the
hardships which these poor creatures suffer, in the tenderest manner,
from a particular regard which I have to many of their masters, but I
cannot conceal their sad circumstances intirely: the most trivial error
is punished with terrible whipping. I have seen some of them treated in
that cruel manner, for no other reason but to satisfy the brutish
pleasure of an overseer, who has their punishment mostly at his
discretion. I have seen their bodies all in a gore of blood, the skin
torn off their backs with the cruel whip; beaten pepper and salt rubbed
in the wounds, and a large stick of sealing wax dropped leisurely upon
them. It is no wonder, if the horrid pain of such inhuman tortures
incline them to rebel. Most of these slaves are brought from the coast
of Guinea. When they first arrive, it is observed, they are simple and
very innocent creatures; but soon turn to be roguish enough. And when
they come to be whipt, urge the example of the whites for an excuse of
their faults."

These accounts of the deep depravity of mind attendant on the practice
of slavery, verify the truth of Montesquieu's remark of its pernicious
effects. And altho' the same degree of opposition to instructing the
Negroes may not now appear in the islands as formerly, especially since
the Society appointed for propagating the Gospel have possessed a number
of Negroes in one of them; nevertheless the situation of these oppressed
people is yet dreadful, as well to themselves as in its consequence to
their hard task-masters, and their offspring, as must be evident to
every impartial person who is acquainted with the treatment they
generally receive, or with the laws which from time to time have been
made in the colonies, with respect to the Negroes; some of them being
absolutely inconsistent with reason, and shocking to humanity. By the
329th act of the assembly of Barbadoes, page 125, it is enacted,

"That if any Negroe or other slave under punishment by his master, or
his order, for running away, or any other crime or misdemeanors towards
his said master, unfortunately shall suffer in life or member, (which
seldom happens) no person whatsoever shall be liable to any fine
therefore. But if any man shall, _of wantonness, or only of
bloody-mindedness or cruel intention, wilfully kill a Negroe, or other
slave of his own, he shall pay into the public treasury, fifteen pounds
sterling_." Now that the life of a man should be so lightly valued, as
that fifteen pounds should be judged a sufficient indemnification of the
murder of one, even when it is avowedly done _wilfully, wantonly,
cruelly, or of bloody-mindedness_, is a tyranny hardly to be paralleled:
nevertheless human laws cannot make void the righteous law of God, or
prevent the inquisition of that awful judgment day, when, "_at the hand
of every man's brother the life of man shall be required_." By the law
of South Carolina, the person that killeth a Negroe is only subject to a
fine, or twelve months imprisonment. It is the same in most, if not all
the West-Indies. And by an act of the assembly of Virginia, (4 Ann. Ch.
49. sect. 27. p. 227.) after proclamation is issued against slaves,
"that run away and lie out, _it is lawful for any person whatsoever to
kill and destroy such slaves, by such ways and means as he, she, or they
shall think fit, without accusation or impeachment of any crime for the
same_."--And lest private interest should incline the planter to mercy,
it is provided, "_That every slave so killed, in pursuance of this act,
shall be paid for by the public_."

It was doubtless a like sense of sympathy with that expressed by Morgan
Godwyn before mentioned, for the oppressed Negroes, and like zeal for
the cause of religion, so manifestly trampled upon in the case of the
Negroes, which induced Richard Baxter, an eminent preacher amongst the
Dissenters in the last century, in his _christian directory_, to express
himself as follows, viz. "Do you mark how God hath followed you with
plagues; and may not conscience tell you, that it is for your inhumanity
to the souls and bodies of men?"--"To go as pirates; and catch up poor
Negroes, or people of another land, that never forfeited life or
liberty, and to make them slaves, and sell them, is one of the worst
kinds of thievery in the world; and such persons are to be taken for the
common enemies of mankind; and they that buy them and use them as beasts
for their mere commodity, and betray, or destroy, or neglect their
souls, are fitter to be called devils incarnate than christians: It is
an heinous sin to buy them, unless it be in charity to deliver them.
Undoubtedly they are presently bound to deliver them, because by right
the man is his own, therefore no man else can have a just title to him."


Griffith Hughes's account of the number of Negroes in Barbadoes. Cannot
keep up their usual number without a yearly recruit. Excessive hardships
wear the Negroes down in a surprising manner. A servitude without a
condition, inconsistent with reason and natural justice. The general
usage the Negroes meet with in the West Indies. Inhuman calculations of
the strength and lives of the Negroes. Dreadful consequences which may
be expected from the cruelty exercised upon this oppressed part of

We are told by Griffith Hughes, rector of St. Lucy in Barbadoes, in his
natural history of that island, printed in the year 1750, "That there
were between sixty-five and seventy thousand Negroes, at that time, in
the island, tho' formerly they had a greater number. That in order to
keep up a necessary number, they were obliged to have a yearly supply
from Africa. That the hard labour, and often want of necessaries, which
these unhappy creatures are obliged to undergo, destroy a greater number
than are bred there." He adds, "That the capacities of their minds in
common affairs of life are but little inferior, if at all, to those of
the Europeans. If they fail in some arts, he says, it may be owing more
to their want of education, and the depression of their spirits by
slavery, than to any want of natural abilities." This destruction of the
human species, thro' unnatural hardships, and want of necessary
supplies, in the case of the Negroes, is farther confirmed in _an
account of the European settlements in America_, printed London, 1757,
where it is said, par. 6. chap. 11th, "The Negroes in our colonies
endure a slavery more compleat, and attended with far worse
circumstances, than what any people in their condition suffer in any
other part of the world, or have suffered in any other period of time:
Proofs of this are not wanting. The prodigious waste which we experience
in this unhappy part of our species, is a full and melancholy evidence
of this truth. The island of Barbadoes, (the Negroes upon which do not
amount to eighty thousand) notwithstanding all the means which they use
to increase them by propagation, and that the climate is in every
respect (except that of being more wholesome) exactly resembling the
climate from whence they come; notwithstanding all this, Barbadoes lies
under a necessity of an annual recruit of five thousand slaves, to keep
up the stock at the number I have mentioned. This prodigious failure,
which is at least in the same proportion in all our islands, shews
demonstratively that some uncommon and unsupportable hardship lies upon
the Negroes, which wears them down in such a surprising manner."

In an account of part of North America, published by Thomas Jeffery,
1761, the author, speaking of the usage the Negroes receive in the West
India islands, says, "It is impossible for a human heart to reflect upon
the servitude of these dregs of mankind, without in some measure feeling
for their misery, which ends but with their lives.--Nothing can be more
wretched than the condition of this people. One would imagine, they were
framed to be the disgrace of the human species; banished from their
country, and deprived of that blessing, liberty, on which all other
nations set the greatest value, they are in a measure reduced to the
condition of beasts of burden. In general, a few roots, potatoes
especially, are their food, and two rags, which neither screen them from
the heat of the day, nor the extraordinary coolness of the night, all
their covering; their sleep very short; their labour almost continual;
they receive no wages, but have twenty lashes for the smallest fault."
_A thoughtful_ person, who had an opportunity of observing the miserable
condition of the Negroes in one of our West India islands, writes thus,
"I met with daily exercise to see the treatment which those miserable
wretches met with from their masters; with but few exceptions. They whip
them most unmercifully on small occasions: you will see their bodies all
whealed and scarred; in short, they seem to set no other value on their
lives, than as they cost them so much money; and are restrained from
killing them, when angry, by no worthier consideration, than that they
lose so much. They act as though they did not look upon them as a race
of human creatures, who have reason, and remembrance of misfortunes, but
as beasts; like oxen, who are stubborn, hardy, and senseless, fit for
burdens, and designed to bear them: they won't allow them to have any
claim to human privileges, or scarce indeed to be regarded as the work
of God. Though it was consistent with the justice of our Maker to
pronounce the sentence on our common parent, and through him on all
succeeding generations, _That he and they should eat their bread by the
sweat of their brows_: yet does it not stand recorded by the same
eternal truth, _That the labourer is worthy of his hire?_ It cannot be
allowed, in natural justice, that there should be a servitude without
condition; a cruel, endless servitude. It cannot be reconcileable to
natural justice, that whole nations, nay, whole continents of men,
should be devoted to do the drudgery of life for others, be dragged away
from their attachments of relations and societies, and be made to serve
the appetite and pleasure of a race of men, whose superiority has been
obtained by illegal force."

Sir Hans Sloane, in the introduction to his natural history of Jamaica,
in the account he gives of the treatment the Negroes met with there,
speaking of the punishments inflicted on them, says, page 56. "For
rebellion, the punishment is burning them, by nailing them down to the
ground with crooked sticks on every limb, and then applying the fire, by
degrees, from the feet and hands, burning them gradually up to the head,
whereby _their pains are extravagant_. For crimes of a less nature,
gelding or chopping off half the foot with an axe.--For negligence, they
are usually whipped by the overseers with lance-wood switches.--After
they are whipped till they are raw, some put on their skins pepper and
salt, to make them smart; at other times, their masters will drop melted
wax on their skins, and use several _very exquisite torments_." In that
island, the owners of the Negroe slaves set aside to each a parcel of
ground, and allow them half a day at the latter end of the week, which,
with the day appointed by the divine injunction to be a day of rest and
service to God, and which ought to be kept as such, is the only time
allowed them to manure their ground. This, with a few herrings, or other
salt fish, is what is given for their support. Their allowance for
cloathing in the island, is seldom more than six yards of oznabrigs each
year. And in the more northern colonies, where the piercing westerly
winds are long and sensibly felt, these poor Africans suffer much for
want of sufficient cloathing; indeed some have none till they are able
to pay for it by their labour. The time that the Negroes work in the
West Indies, is from day-break till noon; then again from two o'clock
till dark (during which time, they are attended by overseers, who
severely scourge those who appear to them dilatory); and before they are
suffered to go to their quarters, they have still something to do, as
collecting herbage for the horses, gathering fuel for the boilers, &c.
so that it is often past twelve before they can get home, when they have
scarce time to grind and boil their Indian corn; whereby, if their food
was not prepared the evening before, it sometimes happens that they are
called again to labour before they can satisfy their hunger. And here no
delay or excuse will avail; for if they are not in the field immediately
upon the usual notice, they must expect to feel the overseer's lash. In
crop time (which lasts many months) they are obliged, by turns, to work
most of the night in the boiling house. Thus their owners, from a desire
of making the greatest gain by the labour of their slaves, lay heavy
burdens on them, and yet feed and cloath them very sparingly, and some
scarce feed or cloath them at all; so that the poor creatures are
obliged to shift for their living in the best manner they can, which
occasions their being often killed in the neighbouring lands, stealing
potatoes, or other food, to satisfy their hunger. And if they take any
thing from the plantation they belong to, though under such pressing
want, their owners will correct them severely for taking a little of
what they have so hardly laboured for; whilst many of themselves riot in
the greatest luxury and excess. It is matter of astonishment how a
people, who, as a nation, are looked upon as generous and humane, and so
much value themselves for their uncommon sense of the benefit of
liberty, can live in the practice of such extreme oppression and
inhumanity, without seeing the inconsistency of such conduct, and
feeling great remorse. Nor is it less amazing to hear these men calmly
making calculations about the strength and lives of their fellow men. In
Jamaica, if six in ten of the new imported Negroes survive the
seasoning, it is looked upon as a gaining purchase. And in most of the
other plantations, if the Negroes live eight or nine years, their labour
is reckoned a sufficient compensation for their cost. If calculations of
this sort were made upon the strength and labour of beasts of burden, it
would not appear so strange; but even then, a merciful man would
certainly use his beast with more mercy than is usually shewn to the
poor Negroes. Will not the groans, the dying groans, of this deeply
afflicted and oppressed people reach heaven? and when the cup of
iniquity is full, must not the inevitable consequence be, the pouring
forth of the judgments of God upon their oppressors? But alas! is it not
too manifest that this oppression has already long been the object of
the divine displeasure? For what heavier judgment, what greater
calamity, can befal any people, than to become subject to that hardness
of heart, that forgetfulness of God, and insensibility to every
religious impression, as well as that general depravation of manners,
which so much prevails in these colonies, in proportion as they have
more or less enriched themselves at the expence of the blood and bondage
of the Negroes.

It is a dreadful consideration, as a late author remarks, that out of
the stock of eighty thousand Negroes in Barbadoes, there die every year
five thousand more than are born in that island; which failure is
probably in the same proportion in the other islands. _In effect, this
people is under a necessity of being entirely renewed every sixteen
years._ And what must we think of the management of a people, who, far
from increasing greatly, as those who have no loss by war ought to do,
must, in so short a time as sixteen years, without foreign recruits, be
entirely consumed to a man! Is it not a christian doctrine, _that the
labourer is worthy of his hire?_ And hath not the Lord, by the mouth of
his prophet, pronounced, _"Wo unto that man who buildeth his house by
unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; who uses his neighbour's
service without wages, and giveth him nought for his work?"_ And yet the
poor Negro slaves are constrained, like the beasts, by beating, to work
hard without hire or recompence, and receive nothing from the hand of
their unmerciful masters, but such a wretched provision as will scarce
support them under their fatigues. The intolerable hardships many of the
slaves undergo, are sufficiently proved by the shortness of their
lives.--And who are these miserable creatures, that receive such
barbarous treatment from the planter? Can we restrain our just
indignation, when we consider that they are undoubtedly _his brethren!
his neighbours! the children of the same Father, and some of those for
whom Christ died, as truly as for the planter himself_. Let the opulent
planter, or merchant, prove that his Negro slave is not his brother, or
that he is not his neighbour, in the scripture sense of these
appellations; and if he is not able so to do, how will he justify the
buying and selling of his brethren, as if they were of no more
consideration than his cattle? The wearing them out with continual
labour, before they have lived out half their days? The severe whipping
and torturing them, even to death, if they resist his unsupportable
tyranny? Let the hardiest slave-holder look forward to that tremendous
day, when he must give an account to God of his stewardship; and let him
seriously consider, whether, at such a time, he thinks he shall be able
to satisfy himself, that any act of buying and selling, or the fate of
war, or the birth of children in his house, plantation, or territories,
or any other circumstance whatever, can give him such an absolute
property in the persons of men, as will justify his retaining them as
slaves, and treating them as beasts? Let him diligently consider whether
there will not always remain to the slave a _superior_ property or right
to the fruit of his own labour; and more especially to his own person;
that being which was given him by God, and which none but the Giver can
justly claim?


The advantage which would have accrued to the natives of Guinea, if the
Europeans had acted towards them agreeable to the dictates of humanity
and christianity. _An inordinate_ desire of gain in the Europeans, the
true occasion of the slave trade. Notice of the misrepresentations of
the Negroes by most authors, in order to palliate the iniquity of the
slave trade. Those misrepresentations refuted, particularly with respect
_to the Hottentot Negroes_.

From the foregoing accounts of the natural disposition of the Negroes,
and the fruitfulness of most parts of Guinea, which are confirmed by
authors of candour, who have wrote from their own knowledge, it may well
be concluded, that the Negroes acquaintance with the Europeans might
have been a happiness to them, if these last had not only bore the name,
but had also acted the part, of Christians, and used their endeavours by
example, as well as precept, to make them acquainted with the glad
tidings of the gospel, which breathes peace and good will to man, and
with that change of heart, that redemption from sin, which christianity
proposeth; innocence and love might then have prevailed, nothing would
have been wanting to complete the happiness of the simple Africans: but
the reverse has happened; the Europeans, forgetful of their duty as men
and christians, have conducted themselves in so iniquitous a manner, as
must necessarily raise in the minds of the thoughtful and well-disposed
Negroes, the utmost scorn and detestation of the very name of
christians. All other considerations have given way to an infallible
desire of gain, which has been the principal and moving cause of the
most _iniquitous and dreadful scene_ that was, perhaps, ever acted upon
the face of the earth; instead of making use of that superior knowledge
with which the Almighty, the common Parent of mankind, had favoured
them, to strengthen the principle of peace and good will in the breasts
of the incautious Negroes, the Europeans have, by their bad example, led
them into excess of drunkenness, debauchery, and avarice; whereby every
passion of corrupt nature being inflamed, they have been easily
prevailed upon to make war, and captivate one another; as well to
furnish means for the excesses they had been habituated to, as to
satisfy the greedy desire of gain in their profligate employers, who to
this intent have furnished them with prodigious quantities of arms and
ammunition. Thus they have been hurried into confusion, distress, and
all the extremities of temporal misery; every thing, even the power of
their Kings, has been made subservient to this wicked purpose; for
instead of being protectors of their subjects, some of those rulers,
corrupted by the excessive love of spirituous liquors, and the tempting
baits laid before them by the factors, have invaded the liberties of
their unhappy subjects, and are become their oppressors.

Here it may be necessary to observe, that the accounts we have of the
inhabitants of Guinea, are chiefly given by persons engaged in the
trade, who, from self-interested views, have described them in such
colours as were least likely to excite compassion and respect, and
endeavoured to reconcile so manifest a violation of the rights of
mankind to the minds of the purchasers; yet they cannot but allow the
Negroes to be possessed of some good qualities, though they contrive as
much as possible to cast a shade over them. A particular instance of
this appears in Astley's collection, vol. 2. p. 73, where the author,
speaking of the Mandingos settled at Galem, which is situated 900 miles
up the Senegal, after saying that they carry on a commerce to all the
neighbouring kingdoms, and amass riches, adds, "That excepting _the
vices peculiar to the Blacks_, they are a good sort of people, honest,
hospitable, just to their word, laborious, industrious, and very ready
to learn arts and sciences." Here it is difficult to imagine what vices
can be peculiarly attendant on a people so well disposed as the author
describes these to be. With respect to the charge some authors have
brought against them, as being void of all natural affection, it is
frequently contradicted by others. In vol. 2. of the Collection, p. 275,
and 629, the Negroes of North Guinea, and the Gold Coast, are said _to
be fond of their children, whom they love with tenderness_. And Bosman
says, p. 340, "Not a few in his country (viz. Holland) fondly imagine,
that parents here sell their children, men their wives, and one brother
the other: but those who think so deceive themselves; for this never
happens on any other account but that of necessity, or some great
crime." The same is repeated by J. Barbot, page 326, and also confirmed
by Sir Hans Sloane, in the introduction to his natural history of
Jamaica; where speaking of the Negroes, he says, "They are usually
thought to be haters of their own children, and therefore it is believed
that they sell and dispose of them to strangers for money: but this is
not true; for the Negroes of Guinea being divided into several
captainships, as well as the Indians of America, have wars; and besides
those slain in battle, many prisoners are taken, who are sold as slaves,
and brought thither: but the parents here, although their children are
slaves for ever, yet have so great love for them, that no master dares
sell, or give away, one of their little ones, unless they care not
whether their parents hang themselves or no." J. Barbot, speaking of the
occasion of the natives of Guinea being represented as a treacherous
people, ascribes it to the Hollanders (and doubtless other Europeans)
usurping authority, and fomenting divisions between the Negroes. At page
110, he says, "It is well known that many of the European nations
trading amongst these people, have very unjustly and inhumanly, without
any provocation, stolen away, from time to time, abundance of the
people, not only on this coast, but almost every where in Guinea, who
have come on board their ships in a harmless and confiding manner: these
they have in great numbers carried away, and sold in the plantations,
with other slaves which they had purchased." And although some of the
Negroes may be justly charged with indolence and supineness, yet many
others are frequently mentioned by authors _as a careful, industrious,
and even laborious_ people. But nothing shews more clearly how unsafe it
is to form a judgment of distant people from the accounts given of them
by travellers, who have taken but a transient view of things, than the
case of the Hottentots, viz. those several nations of Negroes who
inhabit the most southern part of Africa: _these people_ are represented
by several authors, who appear to have very much copied their relations
one from the other, as so savage and barbarous as to have little of
human, but the shape: but these accounts are strongly contradicted by
others, particularly Peter Kolben, who has given a circumstantial
relation of the disposition and manners of those people.[A] He was a man
of learning, sent from the court of Prussia solely to make astronomical
and natural observations there; and having no interest in the slavery of
the Negroes, had not the same inducement as most other relators had, to
misrepresent the natives of Africa. He resided eight years at and about
the Cape of Good Hope, during which time he examined with great care
into the customs, manners, and opinions of the Hottentots; whence he
sets these people in a quite different light from what they appeared in
former authors, whom he corrects, and blames for the falsehoods they
have wantonly told of them. At p. 61, he says, "The details we have in
several authors, are for the most part made up of inventions and
hearsays, which generally prove false." Nevertheless, he allows they are
justly to be blamed for their sloth.--_The love of liberty and indolence
is their all; compulsion is death to them. While necessity obliges them
to work, they are very tractable, obedient, and faithful; but when they
have got enough to satisfy the present want, they are deaf to all
further intreaty_. He also faults them for their nastiness, the effect
of sloth; and for their love of drink, and the practice of some
unnatural customs, which long use has established amongst them; which,
nevertheless, from the general good disposition of these people, there
is great reason to believe they might be persuaded to refrain from, if a
truly christian care had been extended towards them. He says, "They are
eminently distinguished by many virtues, as their mutual benevolence,
friendship, and hospitality; they breathe kindness and good will to one
another, and seek all opportunities of obliging. Is a Hottentot's
assistance required by one of his countrymen? he runs to give it. Is his
advice asked? he gives it with sincerity. Is his countryman in want? he
relieves him to the utmost of his power." Their hospitality extends even
to European strangers: in travelling thro' the Cape countries, you meet
with a chearful and open reception, in whatsoever village you come to.
In short, he says, page 339, "The integrity of the Hottentots, their
strictness and celerity in the execution of justice, and their charity,
are equalled by few nations. _In alliances, their word is sacred; there
being hardly any thing they look upon as a fouler crime than breach of
engagements. Theft and adultery they punish with death_." They firmly
believe there is a God, the author of all things, whom they call the God
of gods; but it does not appear that they have an institution of worship
directly regarding this supreme Deity. When pressed on this article,
they excuse themselves by a tradition, "_That their first parents so
grievously offended this great God, that he cursed them and their
posterity with hardness of heart; so that they know little about him,
and have less inclination to serve him_." As has been already remarked,
these Hottentots are the only Negroe nations bordering on the sea, we
read of, who are not concerned in making or keeping slaves. Those slaves
made use of by the Hollanders at the Cape, are brought from other parts
of Guinea. Numbers of these people told the author, "That the vices they
saw prevail amongst christians; their avarice, their envy and hatred of
one another; their restless discontented tempers; their lasciviousness
and injustice, were the things that principally kept the Hottentots from
hearkening to christianity."

[Footnote A: See Kolban's account of the Cape of Good Hope.]

Father Tachard, a French Jesuit, famous for his travels in the East
Indies, in his account of these people, says, "The Hottentots have more
honesty, love, and liberality for one another, than are almost anywhere
seen amongst christians."


Man-stealing esteemed highly criminal, and punishable by the laws of
Guinea: _No_ Negroes allowed to be sold for slaves there, but those
deemed prisoners of war, or in punishment for crimes. _Some_ of the
Negroe rulers, corrupted by the Europeans, violently infringe the laws
of Guinea. The King of Barsailay noted in that respect.

By an inquiry into the laws and customs formerly in use, and still in
force amongst the Negroes, particularly on the Gold Coast, it will be
found, that provision was made for the general peace, and for the safety
of individuals; even in W. Bosman's time, long after the Europeans had
established the slave-trade, the natives were not publicly enslaved, any
otherwise than in punishment for crimes, when prisoners of war, or by a
violent exertion of the power of their corrupted Kings. Where any of the
natives were stolen, in order to be sold to the Europeans, it was done
secretly, or at least, only connived at by those in power: this appears
From Barbot and Bosman's account of the matter, both agreeing that
man-stealing was not allowed on the Gold Coast. The first[A] says,
"_Kidnapping or stealing of human creatures is punished there, and even
sometimes with death._" And, W. Bosman, whose long residence on the
coast, enabled him to speak with certainty, says,[B] "_That the laws
were severe against murder, thievery, and adultery._" And adds, "_That
man-stealing was punished on the Gold Coast with rigid severity and
sometimes with death itself._" Hence it may be concluded, that the sale
of the greatest part of the Negroes to the Europeans is supported by
violence, in defiance of the laws, through the knavery of their
principal men,[C] who, (as is too often the case with those in European
countries) under pretence of encouraging trade, and increasing the
public revenue, disregard the dictates of justice, and trample upon
those liberties which they are appointed to preserve.

[Footnote A: Barbot, p. 303.]

[Footnote B: Bosman, p. 143.]

[Footnote C: Note. Barbot, page 270, says, the trade of slaves is in a
more peculiar manner the business of Kings, rich men, and prime
merchants, exclusive of the inferior sort of blacks.]

Fr. Moor also mentions man-stealing as being discountenanced by the
Negroe Governments on the river Gambia, and speaks of the inslaving the
peaceable inhabitants, as a violence which only happens under a corrupt
administration of justice; he says,[A] "The Kings of that country
generally advise with their head men, scarcely doing any thing of
consequence, without consulting them first, except the King of
Barsailay, who being subject to hard drinking, is very absolute. It is
to this King's insatiable thirst for brandy, that his subjects freedoms
and families are in so precarious a situation.[B] Whenever this King
wants goods or brandy, he sends a messenger to the English Governor at
James Fort, to desire he would send a sloop there with a cargo: _this
news, being not at all unwelcome_, the Governor sends accordingly;
against the arrival of the sloop, the King goes and ransacks some of his
enemies towns, seizing the people, and selling them for such commodities
as he is in want of, which commonly are brandy, guns, powder, balls,
pistols, and cutlasses, for his attendants and soldiers; and coral and
silver for his wives and concubines. In case he is not at war with any
neighbouring King, he then falls upon one of his own towns, which are
numerous, and uses them in the same manner." "He often goes with some of
his troops by a town in the day time, and returning in the night, sets
fire to three parts of it, and putting guards at the fourth, there
seizes the people as they run out from the fire; he ties their arms
behind them, and marches them either to Joar or Cohone, where he sells
them to the Europeans."

[Footnote A: Moor, page 61.]

[Footnote B: Idem, p. 46.]

A. Brue, the French director, gives much the same account, and says,[A]
"That having received goods, he wrote to the King, that if he had a
sufficient number of slaves, he was ready to trade with him. This
Prince, as well as the other Negroe monarchs, has always a sure way of
supplying his deficiencies, by selling his own subjects, for which they
seldom want a pretence. The King had recourse to this method, by seizing
three hundred of his own people, and sent word to the director, that he
had the slaves ready to deliver for the goods." It seems, the King
wanted double the quantity of goods which the factor would give him for
these three hundred slaves; but the factor refusing to trust him, as he
was already in the company's debt, and perceiving that this refusal had
put the King much out of temper, he proposed that he should give him a
licence for taking so many more of his people, as the goods he still
wanted were worth but this the King refused, saying "_It_ might occasion
a disturbance amongst his subjects."[B] Except in the above instance,
and some others, where the power of the Negroe Kings is unlawfully
exerted over their subjects, the slave-trade is carried on in Guinea
with some regard to the laws of the country, which allow of none to be
sold, but prisoners taken in their national wars, or people adjudged to
slavery in punishment for crimes; but the largeness of the country, the
number of kingdoms or commonwealths, and the great encouragement given
by the Europeans, afford frequent pretences and opportunities to the
bold designing profligates of one kingdom, to surprize and seize upon
not only those of a neighbouring government, but also the weak and
helpless of their own;[C] and the unhappy people, taken on those
occasions, are, with impunity, sold to the Europeans. These practices
are doubtless disapproved of by the most considerate amongst the
Negroes, for Bosman acquaints us, that even their national wars are not
agreeable to such. He says,[D] "If the person who occasioned the
beginning of the war be taken, they will not easily admit him to ransom,
though his weight in gold should be offered, for fear he should in
future form some new design against their repose."

[Footnote A: Collection vol. 2. p. 29.]

[Footnote B: Note, This Negroe King thus refusing to comply with the
factor's wicked proposal, shews, he was sensible his own conduct was not
justifiable; and it likewise appears, the factor's only concern was to
procure the greatest number of slaves, without any regard to the
injustice of the method by which they were procured. This Andrew Brue,
was, for a long time, principal director of the French African factory
in those parts; in the management of which, he is in the collection said
to have had extraordinary success. The part he ought to have acted as a
christian towards the ignorant Africans seems quite out of the question;
the profit of his employers appears to have been his sole concern. At
page 62, speaking of the country on the Senegal river, he says, "It was
very populous, the soil rich; and if the people were industrious, they
might, of their own produce, carry on a very advantageous trade with
strangers; there being but few things in which they could be excelled;
_but_ (he adds) _it is to be hoped, the Europeans will never let them
into the secret._" A remark unbecoming humanity, much more

[Footnote C: This inhuman practice is particularly described by Brue, in
collect. vol. 2. page 98, where he says, "That some of the natives are,
on all occasions, endeavouring to surprize and carry off their country
people. They land (says he) without noise, and if they find a lone
cottage, without defence, they surround it, and carry off all the people
and effects to their boat, and immediately reimbark." This seems to be
mostly practised by some Negroes who dwell on the sea coast.]

[Footnote D: Bosman, p. 155.]


An account of the shocking inhumanity, used in the carrying on of the
slave-trade, as described by factors of different nations, viz. by
Francis Moor, on the river Gambia; and by John Barbot, A. Brue, and
William Bosman, through the coast of Guinea. _Note_. Of the large
revenues arising to the Kings of Guinea from the slave-trade.

First, Francis Moor, factor for the English African company, on the
river Gambia,[A] writes, "That there are a number of Negro traders,
called joncoes, or merchants, who follow the slave-trade as a business;
their place of residence is so high up in the country as to be six weeks
travel from James Fort, which is situate at the mouth of that river.
These merchants bring down elephants teeth, and in some years two
thousand slaves, most of which, they say, are prisoners taken in war.
They buy them from the different Princes who take them; many of them are
Bumbrongs and Petcharies; nations, who each of them have different
languages, and are brought from a vast way inland. Their way of bringing
them is tying them by the neck with leather thongs, at about a yard
distant from each other, thirty or forty in a string, having generally a
bundle of corn or elephants teeth upon each of their heads. In their way
from the mountains, they travel thro' very great woods, where they
cannot for some days get water; so they carry in skin bags enough to
support them for a time. I cannot (adds Moor) be certain of the number
of merchants who follow this trade, but there may, perhaps, be about an
hundred, who go up into the inland country, with the goods which they
buy from the white men, and with them purchase, in various countries,
gold, slaves, and elephants teeth. Besides the slaves, which the
merchants bring down, there are many bought along the river: These are
either taken in war, as the former are, or men condemned for crimes; _or
else people stolen, which is very frequent_.--Since the slave-trade has
been used, all punishments are changed into slavery; there being an
advantage on such condemnation, _they strain for crimes very hard, in
order to get the benefit of selling the criminal_."

[Footnote A: Moor, page 28.]

John Barbot, the French factor, in his account of the manner by which
the slaves are procured, says,[A] "The slaves sold by the Negroes, are
for the most part prisoners of war, or taken in the incursions they make
in their enemies territories; others 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 the year when their parents keep them
there all the day to scare away the devouring small birds." Speaking of
the transactions on that part of Guinea called the Slave Coast, where
the Europeans have the most factories, and from whence they bring away
much the greatest number of slaves, the same author, and also Bosman[B]
says, "The inhabitants of Coto do much mischief, in stealing those
slaves they sell to the Europeans, from the upland country.--That the
inhabitants of Popo excell the former; being endowed with a much larger
share of courage, they rob more successfully, by which means they
increase their riches and trade," The author particularly remarks,
"_That they are encouraged in this practice by the Europeans_; sometimes
it happens, according to the success of their inland excursions, that
they are able to furnish two hundred slaves or more, in a few days." And
he says,[C] "The blacks of Fida, or Whidah, are so expeditious in
trading for slaves, that they can deliver a thousand every month."--"If
there happens to be no stock of slaves there, the factor must trust the
blacks with his goods, to the value of one hundred and fifty, or two
hundred pounds; which goods they carry up into the inland country, to
buy slaves at all markets,[D] for above six hundred miles up the
country, where they are kept like cattle in Europe; the slaves sold
there being generally prisoners of war, taken from their enemies like
other booty, and perhaps some few sold by their own countrymen, in
extreme want, or upon a famine, as also some as a punishment of heinous
crimes." So far Barbot's account; that given by William Bosman is as
follows:[E] "When the slaves which are brought from the inland countries
come to Whidah, they are put in prison together; when we treat
concerning buying them, they are all brought out together in a large
plain, where, by our surgeons, they are thoroughly examined, and that
naked, both men and women, without the least distinction or modesty.[F]
Those which are approved as good, are set on one side; in the mean while
a burning iron, with the arms or name of the company, lies in the fire,
with which ours are marked on the breast. When we have agreed with the
owners of the slaves, they are returned to their prisons, where, from
that time forward, they are kept at our charge, and cost us two pence a
day each slave, which serves to subsist them like criminals on bread and
water; so that to save charges, we send them on board our ships the very
first opportunity; before which, their masters strip them of all they
have on their backs, so that they come on board stark naked, as well
women as men. In which condition they are obliged to continue, if the
master of the ship is not so charitable (which he commonly is) as to
bestow something on them to cover their nakedness. Six or seven hundred
are sometimes put on board a vessel, where they lie as close together as
it is possible for them to be crowded."

[Footnote A: John Barbot, page 47.]

[Footnote B: Bosman, page 310.]

[Footnote C: Barbot, page 326.]

[Footnote D: When the great income which arises to the Negroe Kings on
the Slave-Coast, from the slaves brought thro' their several
governments, to be shipped on board the European vessels, is considered,
we have no cause to wonder that they give so great a countenance to that
trade: William Bosman says, page 337, "_That each ship which comes to
Whidah to trade, reckoning one with another, either by toll, trade, or
custom, pays about four hundred pounds, and sometimes fifty ships come
hither in a year." Barbot confirms the same, and adds, page 350, "That
in the neighbouring kingdom of Ardah, the duty to the King is the value
of seventy or eighty slaves for each trading ship_." Which is near half
as much more as at Whidah; nor can the Europeans, concerned in the
trade, with any degree of propriety, blame the African Kings for
countenancing it, while they continue to send vessels, on purpose to
take in the slaves which are thus stolen, and that they are permitted,
under the sanction of national laws, to sell them to the colonies.]

[Footnote E: Bosman, page 340.]

[Footnote F: Note, from the above account of the indecent and shocking
manner in which the unhappy Negroes are treated, it is reasonable for
persons unacquainted with these people, to conclude them to be void of
that natural modesty, so becoming a reasonable creature; but those who
have had intercourse with the Blacks in these northern colonies, know
that this would be a wrong conclusion, for they are indeed as
susceptible of modesty and shame as other people. It is the unparallel'd
brutality, to which the Europeans have, by long custom, been inured,
which urgeth them, without blushing, to act so shameful a part. Such
usage is certainly grievous to the poor Negroes, particularly the women;
but they are slaves, and must submit to this, or any other abuse that is
offered them by their cruel task-masters, or expect to be inhumanly
tormented into acquiescence. That the Blacks are unaccustomed to such
brutality, appears from an instance mentioned in Ashley's collection,
vol. 2. page 201, viz. "At an audience which Casseneuve had of the King
of Congo, where he was used with a great deal of civility by the Blacks,
some slaves were delivered to him. The King observing Casseneuve
(according to the custom of the Europeans) to handle the limbs of the
slaves, burst out a laughing, as did the great men about him: the factor
asking the interpreter the occasion of their mirth, was told it
proceeded from his so nicely examining the slaves. Nevertheless, _the
King was so ashamed of it, that he desired him, for decency's sake, to
do it in a more private manner._"]


Extracts of several Journals of Voyages to the coast of Guinea for
slaves, whereby the extreme inhumanity of that traffick is described.
_Melancholy_ account of a ship blown up on that coast, with a great
number of Negroes on board, _Instances_ of shocking barbarity
perpetrated by masters of vessels towards their slaves. _Inquiry_ why
these scandalous infringements, both of divine and human laws, are
overlooked by the government.

The misery and bloodshed attendant on the slave-trade, are set forth by
the following extracts of two voyages to the coast of Guinea for slaves.
The first in a vessel from Liverpool, taken _verbatim_ from the original
manuscript of the Surgeon's Journal, _viz._

"Sestro, December the 29th, 1724, No trade to day, though many traders
came on board; they informed us, that the people are gone to war within
land, and will bring prisoners enough in two or three days, in hopes of
which we stay."

The 30th. "No trade yet, but our traders came on board to day, and
informed us the people had burnt four towns of their enemies, so that
to-morrow we expect slaves off: another large ship is come in. Yesterday
came in a large Londoner."

The 31st. "Fair weather, but no trade yet; we see each night towns
burning, but we hear the Sestro men are many of them killed by the
inland Negroes, so that we fear this war will be unsuccessful."

The 2d of January. "Last night we saw a prodigious fire break out about
eleven o'clock, and this morning see the town of Sestro burnt down to
the ground; (it contained some hundreds of houses) So that we find their
enemies are too hard for them at present, and consequently our trade
spoiled here; therefore, about seven o'clock, we weighed anchor, as did
likewise the three other vessels, to proceed lower down."

The second relation, also taken from the original manuscript Journal of
a person of credit, who went surgeon on the same trade, in a vessel from
New-York, about twenty years past, is as follows; _viz._ "Being on the
coast, the Commander of the vessel, according to custom, sent a person
on shore with a present to the King, acquainting him with his arrival,
and letting him know, they wanted a cargo of slaves. The King promised
to furnish them with the slaves; and, in order to do it, set out to go
to war against his enemies; designing to surprise some town, and take
all the people prisoners. Some time after, the King sent them word, he
had not yet met with the desired success; having been twice repulsed, in
attempting to break up two towns, but that he still hoped to procure a
number of slaves for them; and in this design he persisted, till he met
his enemies in the field, where a battle was fought, which lasted three
days, during which time the engagement was so bloody that four thousand
five hundred men were slain on the spot." The person who wrote the
account, beheld the bodies, as they lay on the field of battle. "Think
(says he in his Journal) what a pitiable sight it was, to see the widows
weeping over their lost husbands, orphans deploring the loss of their
fathers, &c. &c." In he 6th vol. of Churchill's collection of Voyages,
page 219, we have the relation of a voyage performed by Captain Philips,
in a ship of 450 tuns, along the coast of Guinea, for elephants teeth,
gold, and Negroe slaves, intended for Barbadoes; in which he says, that
they took "seven hundred slaves on board, the men being all put in irons
two by two, shackled together to prevent their mutinying or swimming
ashore. That the Negroes are so loth to leave their own country, that
they often leap out of the canoe, boat, or ship, into the sea, and keep
under water till they are drowned, to avoid being taken up, and saved by
the boats which pursue them."--They had about twelve Negroes who
willingly drowned themselves; others starved themselves to
death.--Philips was advised to cut off the legs and arms of some to
terrify the rest, (as other Captains had done) but this he refused to
do. From the time of his taking the Negroes on board, to his arrival at
Barbadoes, no less than three hundred and twenty died of various

[Footnote A: _The following relation is inserted at the request of the

That I may contribute all in my power towards the good of mankind, by
inspiring any individuals with a suitable abhorrence of that detestable
practice of trading in our fellow-creatures, and in some measure atone
for my neglect of duty as a Christian, in engaging in that wicked
traffic, I offer to their serious consideration some few occurrences, of
which I was an eye-witness; that being struck with the wretched and
affecting scene, they may foster that humane principle, which is the
noble and distinguished characteristic of man, and improve it to the
benefit of their children's children.

About the year 1749, I sailed from Liverpool to the coast of Guinea.
Some time after our arrival, I was ordered to go up the country a
considerable distance, upon having notice from one of the Negroe Kings,
that he had a parcel of slaves to dispose of. I received my
instructions, and went, carrying with me an account of such goods as we
had on board, to exchange for the slaves we intended to purchase. Upon
being introduced, I presented him with a small case of English spirits,
a gun, and some trifles; which having accepted, and understood by an
interpreter what goods we had, the next day was appointed for viewing
the slaves; we found about two hundred confined in one place. But here
how shall I relate the affecting sight I there beheld! How can I
sufficiently describe the silent sorrow which appeared in the
countenance of the afflicted father, and the painful anguish of the
tender mother, expecting to be for ever separated from their tender
offspring; the distressed maid, wringing her hands in presage of her
future wretchedness, and the general cry of the innocent from a dreadful
apprehension of the perpetual slavery to which they were doomed! Under a
sense of my offence to God, in the persons of his creatures, I
acknowledge I purchased eleven, whom I conducted tied two and two to the
ship. Being but a small ship, (ninety ton) we soon purchased our cargo,
consisting of one hundred and seventy slaves, whom thou mayest, reader,
range in thy view, as they were shackled two and two together, pent up
within the narrow confines of the main deck, with the complicated
distress of sickness, chains, and contempt; deprived of every fond and
social tie, and, in a great measure, reduced to a state of desperation.
We had not been a fortnight at sea, before the fatal consequence of this
despair appeared; they formed a design of recovering their natural
right, LIBERTY, by rising and murdering every man on board; but the
goodness of the Almighty rendered their scheme abortive, and his mercy
spared us to have time to repent. The plot was discovered; the
ring-leader, tied by the two thumbs over the barricade door, at sun-rise
received a number of lashes: in this situation he remained till sun-set,
exposed to the insults and barbarity of the brutal crew of sailors, with
full leave to exercise their cruelty at pleasure. The consequence of
this was, that next morning the miserable sufferer was found dead,
flayed from the shoulders to the waist. The next victim was a youth,
who, from too strong a sense of his misery, refused nourishment, and
died disregarded and unnoticed, till the hogs had fed on part of his
flesh. Will not christianity blush at this impious sacrilege? May the
relation of it serve to call back the struggling remains of humanity in
the hearts of those, who, from a love of wealth, partake in any degree
of this oppressive gain; and have such an effect on the minds of the
sincere, as may be productive of peace, the happy effect of true
repentance for past transgressions, and a resolution to renounce all
connexion with it for the time to come.]

Reader, bring the matter home to thy own heart, and consider whether any
situation can be more completely miserable than that of these distressed
captives. When we reflect that each individual of this number had
probably some tender attachment, which was broken by this cruel
separation; some parent or wife, who had not an opportunity of mingling
tears in a parting embrace; perhaps some infants, or aged parents, whom
his labour was to feed, and vigilance protect; themselves under the most
dreadful apprehension of an unknown perpetual slavery; confined within
the narrow limits of a vessel, where often several hundreds lie as close
as possible. Under these aggravated distresses, they are often reduced
to a state of despair, in which many have been frequently killed, and
some deliberately put to death under the greatest torture, when they
have attempted to rise, in order to free themselves from present misery,
and the slavery designed them. Many accounts of this nature might be
mentioned; indeed from the vast number of vessels employed in the trade,
and the repeated relations in the public prints of Negroes rising on
board the vessels from Guinea, it is more than probable, that many such
instances occur every year. I shall only mention one example of this
kind, by which the reader may judge of the rest; it is in Astley's
collection, vol. 2. p. 449, related by John Atkins, surgeon on board
admiral Ogle's squadron, of one "Harding, master of a vessel in which
several of the men-slaves and women-slaves had attempted to rise, in
order to recover their liberty; some of whom the master, of his own
authority, sentenced to cruel death, making them first eat the heart and
liver of one of those he had killed. The woman he hoisted by the thumbs,
whipped, and slashed with knives before the other slaves, till she
died."[A] As detestable and shocking as this may appear to such whose
hearts are not yet hardened by the practice of that cruelty, which the
love of wealth by degrees introduceth into the human mind, it will not
be strange to those who have been concerned or employed in the trade.

[Footnote A: A memorable instance of some of the dreadful effects of the
slave-trade, happened about five years past, on a ship from this port,
then at anchor about three miles from shore, near Acra Fort, on the
coast of Guinea. They had purchased between four and five hundred
Negroes, and were ready to sail for the West Indies. It is customary on
board those vessels, to keep the men shackled two by two, each by one
leg to a small iron bar; these are every day brought on the deck for the
benefit of air; and lest they should attempt to recover their freedom,
they are made fast to two common chains, which are extended on each side
the main deck; the women and children are loose. This was the situation
of the slaves on board this vessel, when it took fire by means of a
person who was drawing spirits by the light of a lamp; the cask
bursting, the fire spread with so much violence, that in about ten
minutes, the sailors, apprehending it impossible to extinguish it before
it could reach a large quantity of powder they had on board, concluded
it necessary to cast themselves into the sea, as the only chance of
saving their lives; and first they endeavoured to loose the chains by
which the Negroe men were fastened to the deck; but in the confusion the
key being missing, they had but just time to loose one of the chains by
wrenching the staple; when the vehemence of the fire so increased, that
they all but one man jumped over board, when immediately the fire having
gained the powder, the vessel blew up with all the slaves who remained
fastened to the one chain, and such others as had not followed the
sailors examples. There happened to be three Portugueze vessels in
sight, who, with others from the shore, putting out their boats, took up
about two hundred and fifty of those poor souls who remained alive; of
which number, about fifty died on shore, being mostly of those who were
fettered together by iron shackles, which, as they jumped into the sea,
had broke their legs, and these fractures being inflamed by so long a
struggle in the sea, probably mortified, which occasioned the death of
every one that was so wounded. The two hundred remaining alive, were
soon disposed of, for account of the owners to other purchasers.]

Now here arises a necessary query to those who hold the balance of
justice, and who must be accountable to God for the use they have made
of it, That as the principles on which the British constitution is
founded, are so favourable to the common rights of mankind, how it has
happened that the laws which countenance this iniquitous traffic, have
obtained the sanction of the legislature? and that the executive part of
the government should so long shut their ears to continual reports of
the barbarities perpetrated against this unhappy people, and leave the
trading subjects at liberty to trample on the most precious rights of
others, even without a rebuke? Why are the masters of vessels thus
suffered to be the sovereign arbiters of the lives of the miserable
Negroes, and allowed with impunity thus to destroy (may I not properly
say, _to murder_) their fellow-creatures; and that by means so cruel, as
cannot be even related but with shame and horror?


Usage of the Negroes, when they arrive in the West Indies. An hundred
thousand Negroes brought from Guinea every year to the English colonies.
The number of Negroes who die in the passage and seasoning. These are,
properly speaking, murdered by the prosecution of this infamous traffic.
Remarks on its dreadful _effects and tendency_.

When the vessels arrive at their destined port in the colonies, the poor
Negroes are to be disposed of to the planters; and here they are again
exposed naked, without any distinction of sexes, to the brutal
examination of their purchasers; and this, it may well be judged, is, to
many, another occasion of deep distress. Add to this, that near
connexions must now again be separated, to go with their several
purchasers; this must be deeply affecting to all, but such whose hearts
are seared by the love of gain. Mothers are seen hanging over their
daughters, bedewing their naked breasts with tears, and daughters
clinging to their parents, not knowing what new stage of distress must
follow their separation, or whether they shall ever meet again. And here
what sympathy, what commiseration, do they meet with? Why, indeed, if
they will not separate as readily as their owners think proper, the
whipper is called for, and the lash exercised upon their naked bodies,
till obliged to part. Can any human heart, which is not become callous
by the practice of such cruelties, be unconcerned, even at the relation
of such grievous affliction, to which this oppressed part of our species
are subjected.

In a book, printed in Liverpool, called _The Liverpool Memorandum_,
which contains, amongst other things, an account of the trade of that
port, there is an exact list of the vessels employed in the Guinea
trade, and of the number of slaves imported in each vessel; by which it
appears that in the year 1753, the number imported to America by one
hundred and one vessels belonging to that port, amounted to upwards of
thirty thousand; and from the number of vessels employed by the African
company in London and Bristol, we may, with some degree of certainty,
conclude, there are one hundred thousand Negroes purchased and brought
on board our ships yearly from the coast of Africa. This is confirmed in
Anderson's history of Trade and Commerce, lately printed; where it is
said,[A] "That England supplies her American colonies with Negroe
slaves, amounting in number to above one hundred thousand every year."
When the vessels are full freighted with slaves, they sail for our
plantations in America, and may be two or three months in the voyage;
during which time, from the filth and stench that is among them,
distempers frequently break out, which carry off commonly a fifth, a
fourth, yea sometimes a third or more of them: so that taking all the
slaves together, that are brought on board our ships yearly, one may
reasonably suppose, that at least ten thousand of them die on the
voyage. And in a printed account of the state of the Negroes in our
plantations, it is supposed that a fourth part, more or less, die at the
different islands, in what is called the seasoning. Hence it may be
presumed, that at a moderate computation of the slaves who are purchased
by our African merchants in a year, near thirty thousand die upon the
voyage, and in the seasoning. Add to this, the prodigious number who are
killed in the incursions and intestine wars, by which the Negroes
procure the number of slaves wanted to load the vessels. How dreadful
then is this slave-trade, whereby so many thousands of our fellow
creatures, free by nature, endued with the same rational faculties, and
called to be heirs of the same salvation with us, lose their lives, and
are, truly and properly speaking, murdered every year! For it is not
necessary, in order to convict a man of murder, to make it appear that
he had an _intention_ to commit murder; whoever does, by unjust force or
violence, deprive another of his liberty, and, while he hath him in his
power, continues so to oppress him by cruel treatment, as eventually to
occasion his death, is actually guilty of murder. It is enough to make a
thoughtful person tremble, to think what a load of guilt lies upon our
nation on this account; and that the blood of thousands of poor innocent
creatures, murdered every year in the prosecution of this wicked trade,
cries aloud to Heaven for vengeance. Were we to hear or read of a nation
that destroyed every year, in some other way, as many human creatures as
perish in this trade, we should certainly consider them as a very
bloody, barbarous people; if it be alledged, that the legislature hath
encouraged, and still does encourage this trade, It is answered, that no
legislature on earth can alter the nature of things, so as to make that
to be right which is contrary to the law of God, (the supreme Legislator
and Governor of the world) and opposeth the promulgation of the Gospel
of _peace on earth, and good will to man_. Injustice may be methodized
and established by law, but still it will be injustice, as much as it
was before; though its being so established may render men more
insensible of the guilt, and more bold and secure in the perpetration of

[Footnote A: Appendix to Anderson's history, p. 68.]


Observations on the disposition and capacity of the Negroes: Why thought
inferior to that of the Whites. Affecting instances of the slavery of
the Negroes. Reflections thereon.

Doubts may arise in the minds of some, whether the foregoing accounts,
relating to the natural capacity and good disposition of the inhabitants
of Guinea, and of the violent manner in which they are said to be torn
from their native land, are to be depended upon; as those Negroes who
are brought to us, are not heard to complain, and do but seldom manifest
such a docility and quickness of parts, as is agreeable thereto. But
those who make these objections, are desired to note the many
discouragements the poor Africans labour under, when brought from their
native land. Let them consider, that those afflicted strangers, though
in an _enlightened Christian country_, have yet but little opportunity
or encouragement to exert and improve their natural talents: They are
constantly employed in servile labour; and the abject condition in which
we see them, naturally raises an idea of a superiority in ourselves;
whence we are apt to look upon them as an ignorant and contemptible part
of mankind. Add to this, that they meet with very little encouragement
of freely conversing with such of the Whites, as might impart
instruction to them. It is a fondness for wealth, for authority, or
honour, which prompts most men in their endeavours to excell; but these
motives can have little influence upon the minds of the Negroes; few of
them having any reasonable prospect of any other than a state of
slavery; so that, though their natural capacities were ever so good,
they have neither inducement or opportunity to exert them to advantage:
This naturally tends to depress their minds, and sink their spirits into
habits of idleness and sloth, which they would, in all likelihood, have
been free from, had they stood upon an equal footing with the white
people. They are suffered, with impunity, to cohabit together, without
being married; and to part, when solemnly engaged to one another as man
and wife; notwithstanding the moral and religious laws of the land,
strictly prohibiting such practices. This naturally tends to beget
apprehensions in the most thoughtful of those people, that we look upon
them as a lower race, not worthy of the same care, nor liable to the
same rewards and punishments as ourselves. Nevertheless it may with
truth be said, that both amongst those who have obtained their freedom,
and those who remain in servitude, some have manifested a strong
sagacity and an exemplary uprightness of heart. If this hath not been
generally the case with them, is it a matter of surprize? Have we not
reason to make the same complaint of many white servants, when
discharged from our service, though many of them have had much greater
opportunities of knowledge and improvement than the blacks; who, even
when free, labour under the same difficulties as before: having but
little access to, and intercourse with, the most reputable white people,
they remain confined within their former limits of conversation. And if
they seldom complain of the unjust and cruel usage they have received,
in being forced from their native country, &c. it is not to be wondered
at; it being a considerable time after their arrival amongst us, before
they can speak our language; and, by the time they are able to express
themselves, they have great reason to believe, that little or no notice
would be taken of their complaints: yet let any person enquire of those
who were capable of reflection, before they were brought from their
native land, and he will hear such affecting relations, as, if not lost
to the common feelings of humanity, will sensibly affect his heart. The
case of a poor Negroe, not long since brought from Guinea, is a recent
instance of this kind. From his first arrival, he appeared thoughtful
and dejected, frequently dropping tears when taking notice of his
master's children, the cause of which was not known till he was able to
speak English, when the account he gave of himself was, "That he had a
wife and children in his own country; that some of these being sick and
thirsty, he went in the night time, to fetch water at a spring, where he
was violently seized and carried away by persons who lay in wait to
catch men, from whence he was transported to America. The remembrance of
his family, friends, and other connections, left behind, which he never
expected to see any more, were the principal cause of his dejection and
grief." Many cases, equally affecting, might be here mentioned; but one
more instance, which fell under the notice of a person of credit, will
suffice. One of these wretched creatures, then about 50 years of age,
informed him, "That being violently torn from a wife and several
children in Guinea, he was sold in Jamaica, where never expecting to see
his native land or family any more, he joined himself to a Negroe woman,
by whom he had two children: after some years, it suiting the interest
of his owner to remove him, he was separated from his second wife and
children, and brought to South Carolina, where, expecting to spend the
remainder of his days, he engaged with a third wife, by whom he had
another child; but here the same consequence of one man being subject to
the will and pleasure of another man occurring, he was separated from
this last wife and child, and brought into this country, where he
remained a slave." Can any, whose mind is not rendered quite obdurate by
the love of wealth, hear these relations, without being deeply touched
with sympathy and sorrow? And doubtless the case of many, very many of
these afflicted people, upon enquiry, would be found to be attended with
circumstances equally tragical and aggravating. And if we enquire of
those Negroes, who were brought away from their native country when
children, we shall find most of them to have been stolen away, when
abroad from their parents, on the roads, in the woods, or watching their
corn-fields. Now, you that have studied the book of conscience, and you
that are learned in the law, what will you say to such deplorable cases?
When, and how, have these oppressed people forfeited their liberty? Does
not justice loudly call for its being restored to them? Have they not
the same right to demand it, as any of us should have, if we had been
violently snatched by pirates from our native land? Is it not the duty
of every dispenser of justice, who is not forgetful of his own humanity,
to remember that these are men, and to declare them free? Where
instances of such cruelty frequently occur, and are neither enquired
into, nor redressed, by those whose duty it is _to seek judgment, and
relieve the oppressed_, Isaiah i. 17. what can be expected, but that the
groans and cries of these sufferers will reach Heaven; and what shall we
do _when God riseth up? and when he visiteth_, what will ye answer him?
_Did not he that made them, make us; and did not one fashion us in the
womb_? Job xxxi. 14.


The expediency of a general freedom being granted to the Negroes
considered. _Reasons_ why it might be productive of advantage and
_safety to the Colonies_.

It is scarce to be doubted, but that the foregoing accounts will beget
in the heart of the considerate readers an earnest desire to see a stop
put to this complicated evil, but the objection with many is, What shall
be done with those Negroes already imported, and born in our families?
Must they be sent to Africa? That would be to expose them, in a strange
land, to greater difficulties than many of them labour under at present.
To let them suddenly free here, would be perhaps attended with no less
difficulty; for, undiciplined as they are in religion and virtue, they
might give a loose to those evil habits, which the fear of a master
would have restrained. These are objections, which weigh with many well
disposed people, and it must be granted, these are difficulties in the
way; nor can any general change be made, or reformation effected,
without some; but the difficulties are not so great but that they may be
surmounted. If the government was so considerate of the iniquity and
danger attending on this practice, as to be willing to seek a remedy,
doubtless the Almighty would bless this good intention, and such methods
would be thought of, as would not only put an end to the unjust
oppression of the Negroes, but might bring them under regulations, that
would enable them to become profitable members of society; for the
furtherance of which, the following proposals are offered to
consideration: That all farther importation of slaves be absolutely
prohibited; and as to those born among us, after serving so long as may
appear to be equitable, let them by law be declared free. Let every one,
thus set free, be enrolled in the county courts, and be obliged to be a
resident, during a certain number of years, within the said county,
under the care of the overseers of the poor. Thus being, in some sort,
still under the direction of governors, and the notice of those who were
formerly acquainted with them, they would be obliged to act the more
circumspectly, and make proper use of their liberty, and their children
would have an opportunity of obtaining such instructions, as are
necessary to the common occasions of life; and thus both parents and
children might gradually become useful members of the community. And
further, where the nature of the country would permit, as certainly the
uncultivated condition of our southern and most western colonies easily
would, suppose a small tract of land were assigned to every Negroe
family, and they obliged to live upon and improve it, (when not hired
out to work for the white people) this would encourage them to exert
their abilities, and become industrious subjects. Hence, both planters
and tradesmen would be plentifully supplied with chearful and
willing-minded labourers, much vacant land would be cultivated, the
produce of the country be justly increased, the taxes for the support of
government lessened to individuals, by the increase of taxables, and the
Negroes, instead of being an object of terror,[A] as they certainly must
be to the governments where their numbers are great, would become
interested in their safety and welfare.

[Footnote A: The hard usage the Negroes meet with in the plantations,
and the great disproportion between them and the white people, will
always be a just cause of terror. In Jamaica, and some parts of
South-Carolina, it is supposed that there are fifteen blacks to one


Answer to a mistaken opinion, that the warmth of the climate in the
West-Indies, will not permit white people to labour there. No complaint
of disability in the whites, in that respect, in the settlement of the
islands. Idleness and diseases prevailed, as the use of slaves
increased. _The great_ advantage which might accrue to the British
nation, if the slave trade was entirely laid aside, and a fair and
friendly commerce established through the whole coast of Africa.

It is frequently offered as an argument, in vindication of the use of
Negroe slaves, that the warmth of the climate in the West Indies will
not permit white people to labour in the culture of the land: but upon
an acquaintance with the nature of the climate, and its effects upon
such labouring white people, as are prudent and moderate in labour, and
the use of spirituous liquors, this will be found to be a mistaken
opinion. Those islands were, at first, wholly cultivated by white men;
the encouragement they then met with, for a long course of years, was
such as occasioned a great increase of people. Richard Ligon, in his
history of Barbadoes, where he resided from the year 1647 to 1650, about
24 years after his first settlement, writes, "that there were then fifty
thousand souls on that island, besides Negroes; and that though the
weather was very hot, yet not so scalding but that servants, both
christians and slaves, laboured ten hours a day." By other accounts we
gather, that the white people have since decreased to less than one half
the number which was there at that time; and by relations of the first
settlements of the other islands, we do not meet with any complaints of
unfitness in the white people for labour there, before slaves were
introduced. The island of Hispaniola, which is one of the largest of
those islands, was at first planted by the Buccaneers, a set of hardy
laborious men, who continued so for a long course of years; till
following the example of their neighbours, in the purchase and use of
Negroe slaves, idleness and excess prevailing, debility and disease
naturally succeeded, and have ever since continued. If, under proper
regulations, liberty was proclaimed through the colonies, the Negroes,
from dangerous, grudging, half-fed slaves, might become able,
willing-minded labourers. And if there was not a sufficient number of
these to do the necessary work, a competent number of labouring people
might be procured from Europe, which affords numbers of poor distressed
objects, who, if not overlooked, with proper usage, might, in several
respects, better answer every good purpose in performing the necessary
labour in the islands, than the slaves now do.

A farther considerable advantage might accrue to the British nation in
general, if the slave trade was laid aside, by the cultivation of a
fair, friendly, and humane commerce with the Africans; without which, it
is not possible the inland trade of that country should ever be extended
to the degree it is capable of; for while the spirit of butchery and
making slaves of each other, is promoted by the Europeans amongst the
Negroes, no mutual confidence can take place; nor will the Europeans be
able to travel with safety into the heart of their country, to form and
cement such commercial friendships and alliances, as might be necessary
to introduce the arts and sciences amongst them, and engage their
attention to instruction in the principles of the christian religion,
which is the only sure foundation of every social virtue. Africa has
about ten thousand miles of sea coast, and extends in depth near three
thousand miles from east to west, and as much from north to south,
stored with vast treasures of materials, necessary for the trade and
manufactures of Great-Britain; and from its climate, and the
fruitfulness of its soil, capable, under proper management, of producing
in the greatest plenty, most of the commodities which are imported into
Europe from those parts of America subject to the English government;[A]
and as, in return, they would take our manufactures, the advantages of
this trade would soon become so great, that it is evident this subject
merits the regard and attention of the government.

[Footnote A: See note, page 109.]











Admitting the least CLAIM of private Property in the Persons of Men in





_The occasion of this Treatise. All Persons during their residence in_
Great Britain _are subjects; and as such, bound to the laws, and under
the Kings protection. By the English laws, no man, of what condition
soever, to be imprisoned, or any way deprived of his_ LIBERTY, _without
a legal process. The danger of_ Slavery _taking place in England.
Prevails in the Northern Colonies, notwithstanding the people's plea in
favour of_ Liberty. _Advertisements in the New-York Journal for the sale
of_ SLAVES. _Advertisements to the same purpose in the public prints in
England. The danger of confining any person without a legal warrant.
Instances of that nature. Note, Extract of several American laws,
Reflexions thereon._


Some persons respectable in the law, having given it as their opinion,
"_That a slave, by coming from the West Indies to Great Britain or
Ireland, either with or without his master, doth not become free, or
that his master's property or right in him is not thereby determined or
varied;--and that the master may legally compel him to return again to
the plantations_,"--this causes our author to remark, that these
lawyers, by thus stating the case merely on one side of the question, (I
mean in favour of the master) have occasioned an unjust presumption and
prejudice, plainly inconsistent with the laws of the realm, and against
the other side of the question; as they have not signified that their
opinion was only conditional, and not absolute, and must be understood
on the part of the master, "_That he can produce an authentic agreement
or contract in writing, by which it shall appear, that the said slave
hath voluntarily bound himself, without compulsion or illegal duress_."

Page 5. Indeed there are many instances of persons being freed from
slavery by the laws of England, but (God be thanked) there is neither
law, nor even a precedent, (at least I have not been able to find one)
of a legal determination to justify a master in claiming or detaining
any person whatsoever as a slave in England, who has not voluntarily
bound himself as such by a contract in writing.

Page 20. An English subject cannot be made a slave without his own free
consent: but--a foreign slave is made a subject with or without his own
consent: there needs no contract for this purpose, as in the other case;
nor any other act or deed whatsoever, but that of his being landed in
England; For according to statute 32d of Henry VIII. c. 16. Sect. 9.
"_Every alien or stranger born out of the King's obeisance, not being
denizen, which now or hereafter shall come into this realm, or elsewhere
within the King's dominions, shall, after the said first of September
next coming, be bounden by and unto the laws and statutes of this realm,
and to all and singular the contents of the same._"

Now it must be observed, that this law makes no distinction of _bond or
free_, neither of colours or complexions, whether of _black, brown_, or
_white_; for "_every alien or stranger_ (without exception) _are bounden
by and unto the law_, &c."

This binding, or obligation, is properly expressed by the English word
_ligeance, (à ligando_) which may be either perpetual or temporary.
Wood, b. I. c. 3. p. 37. But one of these is indispensably due to the
Sovereign from all ranks and conditions of people; their being bounden
unto the laws, (upon which the Sovereign's right is founded) expresses
and implies this subjection to the laws; and therefore to alledge, that
an alien is not a subject, because he is in bondage, is not only a plea
without foundation, but a contradiction in terms; for every person who,
in any respect, is in subjection to the laws, must undoubtedly be a

I come now to the main point--"_That every man, woman, or child, that
now is, or hereafter shall be, an inhabitant or resiant of this kingdom
of England, dominion of Wales, or town of Berwick upon Tweed,_" is, in
some respect or other, the _King's subject_, and, as such, is absolutely
secure in his or her _personal liberty_, by virtue of a statute, 31st
Car. II. ch. 11. and particularly by the 12th Sect. of the same, wherein
subjects of all conditions are plainly included.

This act is expressly intended for the better securing the liberty of
the subject, and for prevention of imprisonment beyond the seas. It
contains no distinction of "_natural born, naturalized, denizen, or
alien subject; nor of white or black, freemen, or even of bond-men_,"
(except in the case already mentioned _of a contract in writing_, by
which it shall appear, _that the said slave has voluntarily bound
himself, without compulsion or illegal duress_, allowed by the 13th
Sect. and the exception likewise in the 14th Sect. concerning felons)
but they are all included under the general titles of "_the subject, any
of the said subjects, every such person_" &c. Now the definition of the
word "_person_," in its relative or civil capacity (according to Wood.
b. I. c. 11. p. 27.) _is either the King, or a subject_. These are the
_only capital distinctions_ that can be made, tho' the latter consists
of a variety of denominations and degrees.

But if I were even to allow, that a _Negroe slave_ is not a subject,
(though I think I have clearly proved that he is) yet it is plain that
such an one ought not to be denied the benefit of the King's court,
unless the slave-holder shall be able to prove likewise that he is not,
a _Man_; because _every man_ may be _free_ to sue for, and _defend his
right in our courts_, says a stat. 20th Edw. III. c. 4. and elsewhere,
according to law. And _no man, of what estate or condition_ that he be,
(here can be no exception whatsoever) _shall be put out of land or
tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death,
without being brought in answer by due process of the law_. 28th Edw.
III, c. 3, _No man_ therefore, _of what estate or condition that he be_,
can lawfully be detained in England _as a slave_; because we have no law
whereby a man _may be_ condemned to _slavery_ without his own consent,
(for even convicted felons must "_in open court pray to transported_.")
(See Habeas Corpus act, Sect. 14.) and therefore there cannot be any
"_due process of the law_" tending to so base a purpose. It follows
therefore, that every man, who presumes to detain _any person_
whatsoever as a slave, otherwise than by virtue of a written contract,
acts manifestly without "_due process of the law_," and consequently is
liable to the slave's "_action of false imprisonment_," because "_every
man may be free to sue_," &c. so that the slave-holder cannot avail
himself of his imaginary _property_, either by the assistance of the
common law, or of a court of equity, (_except it appears that the said
slave has voluntarily bound himself, without compulsion or illegal
duress_) for in both his suit will certainly appear both unjust and
indefensible. The former cannot assist him, because the statute law at
present is so far from supposing any man in a state of slavery, that it
cannot even permit such a state, except in the two cases mentioned in
the 13th and 14th Section of the Habeas Corpus act; and the courts of
equity likewise must necessarily decide against him, because his mere
mercenary plea of _private property_ cannot equitably, in a case between
_man and man_, stand in competition with that _superior property_ which
every man must necessarily be allowed to have in his own _proper

How then is the slave-holder to secure what he esteems his _property?_
Perhaps he will endeavour clandestinely to seize the supposed slave, in
order to transport him (with or without _his consent_) to the colonies,
where such property is allowed: but let him take care what he does, the
very attempt is punishable; and even the making over his property to
another for that purpose, renders him equally liable to the severe
penalties of the law, for a bill of sale may certainly be included under
the terms expressed in the Habeas Corpus act, 12th Sect. viz. "_Any
warrant or writing for such commitment, detainer, imprisonment, or
transportation," &c._ It is also dangerous for a counsellor, or any
other person _to advise_ (see the act "shall be advising") such
proceedings, by saying, "_That a master may legally compel him_ (the
slave) _to return again to the plantations_." Likewise an attorney,
notary-public, or any other person, who shall presume to draw up,
negotiate, of even to witness a bill of sale, or other instrument for
such commitment, &c. offends equally against the law, because "_All, or
any person or persons, that shall frame, contrive, write, seal, or
countersign any warrant or writing for such commitment, detainer,
imprisonment, or transportation; or shall be advising, aiding, or
assisting in the same, or any of them_," are liable to all the penalties
of the act. "_And the plaintiff, in every such action, shall have
judgment to recover his treble costs, besides damages; which damages so
to be given shall not be less than five hundred pounds_;" so that the
injured may have ample satisfaction for their sufferings: and even a
judge may not direct or instruct a jury contrary to this statute,
whatever his private opinion may be concerning property in slaves;
because _no order or command, nor no injunction_, is allowed to
interfere with this _golden act of liberty_.

--I have before observed, that the general term, "_every alien_,"
includes _all strangers whatsoever_, and renders them _subject_ to the
King, and the laws, during their residence in this kingdom; and this is
certainly true, whether the aliens be Turks, Moors, Arabians, Tartars,
or even savages, from any part of the world.--Men are rendered obnoxious
to the laws by their offences, and not by the particular denomination of
their rank, order, parentage, colour, or country; and therefore, though
we should suppose that any particular body of people whatsoever were not
known, or had in consideration by the legislature at the different times
when the severe penal laws were made, yet no man can reasonably
conceive, that such men are exempted on this account from the penalties
of the said laws, when legally convicted of having offended against

Laws calculated for the moral purpose of preventing oppression, are
likewise usually supposed to be everlasting, and to make up a part of
our happy constitution; for which reason, though the kind of oppression
to be guarded against, and the penalties for offenders, are minutely
described therein, yet the persons to be protected are comprehended in
terms as general as possible; that "_no person who now is, or hereafter
shall be, an inhabitant or resiant in this kingdom_," (see Habeas Corpus
act, Sect. 12th) may seem to be excluded from protection. The general
terms of the several statutes before cited, are so full and clear, that
they admit of no exception whatsoever; for all persons (Negroes as well
as others) must be included in the terms "the subject;"--"_no subject of
this realm that now is, or hereafter shall be, an inhabitant, &c. any
subject; every such person_;" see Habeas Corpus act. Also _every man_
may be _free_ to sue, &c. 20th Edward III. cap. 4. and _no man, of what
estate or condition that he be_, shall be taken or imprisoned, &c. True
justice makes no respect of persons, and can never deny, to any one that
blessing to which all mankind have an undoubted right, their _natural
liberty_: though the law makes no mention of Negroe slaves, yet this is
no just argument for excluding them from the general protection of our
happy constitution.

Neither can the objection, that Negroe slaves were not "had in
consideration or contemplation," when these laws were made, prove any
thing against them; but, on the contrary, much in their favour; for both
these circumstances are strong presumptive proofs, that the practice of
importing slaves into this kingdom, and retaining them as such, is an
innovation entirely foreign to the spirit and intention of the laws now
in force.

--Page 79. A toleration of slavery is, in effect, a toleration of
inhumanity; for there are wretches in the world who make no scruple to
gain, by wearing out their slaves with continual labour, and a scanty
allowance, before they have lived out half their natural days. It is
notorious, that this is too often the case in the unhappy countries
where slavery is tolerated.

See the account of the European settlements in America, Part VI. Chap.
11. concerning the "_misery of the Negroes, great waste of them_," &c.
which informs us not only of a most scandalous profanation of the Lord's
day, but also of another abomination, which must be infinitely more
heinous in the sight of God, viz. oppression carried to such excess, as
to be even destructive of the human species.

At present, the inhumanity of constrained labour in excess, extends no
farther in England than to our beasts, as post and hackney-horses,
sand-asses, &c.

But thanks to our laws, and not to the general good disposition of
masters, that it is so; for the wretch who is bad enough to maltreat a
helpless beast, would not spare his fellow man if he had him as much in
his power.

The maintenance of civil liberty is therefore absolutely necessary to
prevent an increase of our national guilt, by the addition of the horrid
crime of tyranny.--Notwithstanding that the plea of necessity cannot
here be urged, yet this is no reason why an increase of the practice is
not to be feared.

Our North American colonies afford us a melancholy instance to the
contrary; for though the climate in general is so wholesome and
temperate, that it will not authorise this plea of necessity for the
employment of slaves, any more than our own, yet the pernicious practice
of slave-holding is become almost general in those parts. At New-York,
for instance, the infringement on civil or domestic liberty is become
notorious, notwithstanding the political controversies of the
inhabitants in praise of liberty; but no panegyric on this subject
(howsoever elegant in itself) can be graceful or edifying from the mouth
or pen of one of those provincials, because men who do not scruple to
detain others in slavery, have but a very partial and unjust claim to
the protection of the laws of liberty; and indeed it too plainly appears
that they have no real regard for liberty, farther than their own
private interests are concerned; and (consequently) that they have so
little detestation of despotism and tyranny, that they do not scruple to
exercise them whenever their caprice excites them, or their private
interest seems to require an exertion of their power over their
miserable slaves.

Every petty planter, who avails himself of the service of slaves, is an
arbitrary monarch, or rather a lawless Bashaw in his own territories,
notwithstanding that the imaginary freedom of the province wherein he
resides, may seem to forbid the observation.

The boasted liberty of our American colonies, therefore, has so little
right to that sacred name, that it seems to differ from the arbitrary
power of despotic monarchs only in one circumstance, viz. that it is a
_many-headed monster of tyranny_, which entirely subverts our most
excellent constitution; because liberty and slavery are so opposite to
each other, that they cannot subsist in the same community. "_Political
liberty (in mild or well regulated governments) makes civil liberty
valuable; and whosoever is deprived of the latter, is deprived also of
the former_." This observation of the learned Montesquieu, I hope
sufficiently justifies my censure of the Americans for their notorious
violation of civil liberty;--The New-York Journal, or, The General
Advertiser, for Thursday, 22d October, 1767, gives notice by
advertisement, of no less than eight different persons who have escaped
from slavery, or are put up to public sale for that horrid purpose.

That I may demonstrate the indecency of such proceedings in a free
country, I shall take the liberty of laying some of these advertisements
before my readers, by way of example.

"_To be SOLD for want of Employment_, A likely strong active Negroe man,
of about 24 years of age, this country born, (_N.B._ A natural born
subject) understands most of a baker's trade, and a good deal of farming
business, and can do all sorts of house-work.--Also a healthy Negroe
wench, of about 21 years old, is a tolerable cook, and capable of doing
all sorts of house-work, can be well recommended for her honesty and
sobriety: she has a female child of nigh three years old, which will be
sold with the wench if required, &c." Here is not the least
consideration, or scruple of conscience, for the inhumanity of parting
the mother and young child. From the stile, one would suppose the
advertisement to be of no more importance than if it related merely to
the sale of a cow and her calf; and that the cow should be sold with or
without her calf, according as the purchaser should require.--But not
only Negroes, but even American Indians, are detained in the same
abominable slavery in our colonies, though there cannot be any
reasonable pretence whatsoever for holding one of these as private
property; for even if a written contract should be produced as a voucher
in such a case, there would still remain great suspicion, that some
undue advantage had been taken of the Indian's ignorance concerning the
nature of such a bond.

"_Run away, on Monday the 21st instant, from J----n T----, Esq. of
West-Chester county, in the province of New-York_, An Indian slave,
named Abraham, he may have changed his name, about 23 years of age,
about five feet five inches."

Upon the whole, I think I may with justice conclude, that those
advertisements discover a shameless prostitution and infringement on the
common and natural rights of mankind--But hold! perhaps the Americans
may be able, with too much justice, to retort this severe reflexion, and
may refer us to news-papers published even in the free city of London,
which contain advertisements not less dishonourable than their own. See
advertisement in the Public Ledger of 31st December, 1761.

"_For SALE, A healthy NEGROE GIRL_, aged about fifteen years; speaks
good English, works at her needle, washes well, does houshold work, and
has had the small-pox. By J.W. &c."

Another advertisement, not long ago, offered a reward for stopping a
female slave who had left her mistress in Hatton-garden. And in the
Gazetteer of 18th April, 1769, appeared a very extraordinary
advertisement with the following title;

"_Horses, Tim Wisky, and black Boy_, To be sold at the Bull and Gate
Inn. Holborn, _A very good Tim Wisky_, little the worse for wear, &c."
Afterwards, "_A Chesnut Gelding_;" then, "_A very good grey Mare_;" and
last of all, (as if of the least consequence) "_A well-made
good-tempered black Boy_, he has lately had the small-pox, and will be
sold to any gentleman. Enquire as above."

Another advertisement in the same paper, contains a very particular
description of a Negroe man, called _Jeremiah_,--and concludes as
follows:--"Whoever delivers him to Capt. M---- U----y, on board the
Elizabeth, at Prince's Stairs, Rotherhithe, on or before the 31st
instant, shall receive thirty guineas reward, or ten guineas for such
intelligence as shall enable the Captain, or his master, effectually to
secure him. The utmost secrecy may be depended on." It is not on account
of shame, that men, who are capable of undertaking the desperate and
wicked employment of kidnappers, are supposed to be tempted to such a
business, by a promise "_of the utmost secrecy_;" but this must be from
a sense of the unlawfulness of the act proposed to them, that they may
have less reason to fear a prosecution. And as such a kind of people are
supposed to undertake any thing for money, the reward of thirty guineas
was tendered at the top of the advertisement, in capital letters. No man
can be safe, be he white or black, if temptations to break the laws are
so shamefully published in our news-papers.

_A Creole Black boy_ is also offered to sale, in the Daily Advertiser of
the same date.

Besides these instances, the Americans may, perhaps, taunt us with the
shameful treatment of a poor Negroe servant, who not long ago was put up
to sale by public auction, together with the effects of his bankrupt
master.--Also, that the prisons of this free city have been frequently
prostituted of late, by the tyrannical and dangerous practice of
confining Negroes, under the pretence of slavery, though there have been
no warrants whatsoever for their commitment.

This circumstance of confining a man without a warrant, has so great a
resemblance to the proceedings of a Popish inquisition, that it is but
too obvious what dangerous practices such scandalous innovations, if
permitted to grow more into use, are liable to introduce. No person can
be safe, if wicked and designing men have it in their power, under the
pretence of private property as a slave, to throw a man clandestinely,
without a warrant, into goal, and to conceal him there, until they can
conveniently dispose of him.

A free man may be thus robbed of his liberty, and carried beyond the
seas, without having the least opportunity of making his case known;
which should teach us how jealous we ought to be of all imprisonments
made without the authority, or previous examination, of a civil

The distinction of colour will, in a short time, be no protection
against such outrages, especially as not only Negroes, but Mulatoes, and
even American Indians, (which appears by one of the advertisements
before quoted) are retained in slavery in our American colonies; for
there are many honest weather-beaten Englishmen, who have as little
reason to boast of their complexion as the Indians. And indeed, the more
northern Indians have no difference from us in complexion, but such as
is occasioned by the climate, or different way of living. The plea of
private property, therefore, cannot, by any means, justify a private
commitment of any person whatsoever to prison, because of the apparent
danger and tendency of such innovation. This dangerous practice of
concealing in prison was attempted in the case of Jonathan Strong; for
the door-keeper of the P----lt----y C----pt----r (or some person who
acted for him) absolutely refused, for two days, to permit this poor
injured Negro to be seen or spoke with, though a person went on purpose,
both those days, to demand the same.--All laws ought to be founded upon
the principle of "_doing as one would be done by_;" and indeed this
principle seems to be the very basis of the English constitution; for
what precaution could possibly be more effectual for that purpose, than
the right we enjoy of being judged by our Peers, creditable persons of
the vicinage; especially, as we may likewise claim the right of
excepting against any particular juryman, who might be suspected of

This law breathes the pure spirit of liberty, equity, and social love;
being calculated to maintain that consideration and mutual regard which
one person ought to have for another, howsoever unequal in rank or

But when any part of the community, under the pretence of private
property, is deprived of this common privilege, it is a violation of
civil liberty, which is entirely inconsistent with the social principles
of a free state.

True liberty protects the labourer as well as his Lord; preserves the
dignity of human nature, and seldom fails to render a province rich and
populous; whereas, on the other hand, a toleration of slavery is the
highest breach of social virtue, and not only tends to depopulation, but
too often renders the minds of both masters and slaves utterly depraved
and inhuman, by the hateful extremes of exaltation and depression.

If such a toleration should ever be generally admitted in England,
(which God forbid) we shall no longer deserve to be esteemed a civilized
people; because, when the customs of uncivilized nations, and the
_uncivilized customs which disgrace our own colonies_, are become so
familiar as to be permitted amongst us with impunity, we ourselves must
insensibly degenerate to the same degree of baseness with those from
whom such bad customs were derived; and may, too soon, have the
mortification to see the _hateful extremes of tyranny and slavery
fostered under every roof_.

Then must the happy medium of a well regulated liberty be necessarily
compelled to find shelter in some more civilized country: where social
virtue, and that divine precept, "_Thou shalt love thy neighbour as
thyself_," are better understood.

An attempt to prove the dangerous tendency, injustice, and disgrace of
tolerating slavery amongst Englishmen, would, in any former age, have
been esteemed as superfluous and ridiculous, as if a man should
undertake, in a formal manner, to prove, that darkness is not light.

Sorry am I, that the depravity of the present age has made a
demonstration of this kind necessary.

Now, that I may sum up the amount of what has been said in a single
sentence, I shall beg leave to conclude in the words of the great Sir
Edward Coke, which, though spoken on a different occasion, are yet
applicable to this; see Rushworth's Hist. Col. An. 1628. 4 Caroli. fol.

"It would be no honour to a King or kingdom, to be a King of bondmen or
slaves: the end of this would be both _dedecus_[A] and _damnum_[B] both
to King and kingdom, that in former times have been so renowned."

[Footnote A: Disgrace.]

[Footnote B: Loss.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Note, at page 63; According to the laws of Jamaica, printed in London,
in 1756, "If any slave having been one whole year in this island, (says
an act, No 64, clause 5, p. 114) shall run away, and continue absent
from his owner's service for the space of thirty days, upon complaint
and proof, &c. before any two justices of the peace, and three
freeholders, &c. it shall and may be lawful for such justices and
freeholders to order such slave to be punished, by _cutting off one of
the feet of such slave_, or inflict such other corporal punishment as
they _shall think fit_." Now that I may inform my readers, what corporal
punishments are sometimes thought fit to be inflicted, I will refer to
the testimony of Sir Hans Sloane, (see voyage to the islands of Madeira,
Barbadoes, &c. and Jamaica, with the natural history of the last of
these islands, &c. London 1707. Introduction, p. 56, and 57.) "The
punishment for crimes of slaves (says he) are usually, for _rebellions_,
burning them, by nailing them down to the ground with crooked sticks on
every limb, and then applying the fire, by degrees, from the feet and
hands, and burning them gradually up to the head, whereby _the pains are
extravagant_; for crimes of a lesser nature, _gelding_, or _chopping off
half the foot_ with an axe. These punishments are suffered by them with
great constancy.--For negligence, they are usually whipped by the
overseers with lance-wood switches, till they be bloody, and several of
the switches broken, being first tied up by their hands in the mill
houses.--After they are whipped till they are raw, some put on their
skins pepper and salt, to make them smart; at other times, their masters
will drop melted wax on their skins, and use several _very exquisite
torments_." Sir Hans adds, "These punishments are sometimes merited by
the Blacks, who are a very perverse generation of people; and though
they appear very harsh, yet are scarce equal to some of their crimes,
and inferior to what punishments other European nations inflict on their
slaves in the East-Indies, as may be seen by Moquet, and other
travellers." Thus Sir Hans Sloane endeavours to excuse those shocking
cruelties, but certainly in vain, because no crimes whatsoever can merit
such severe punishments, unless I except the crimes of those who devise
and inflict them. Sir Hans Sloane, indeed, mentions _rebellion_ as the
principal crime; and certainly it is very justly esteemed a most heinous
crime, in a land of liberty, where government is limited by equitable
and just laws, if the same are tolerably well observed; but in countries
where arbitrary power is exercised with such intolerable cruelty as is
before described, if resistance be a crime, it is certainly the most
natural of all others.

But the 19th clause of the 38th act, would indeed, on a slight perusal,
induce us to conceive, that the punishment for rebellion is not so
severe as it is represented by Sir Hans Sloane; because a slave, though
_deemed rebellious_, is thereby condemned to no greater punishment than
transportation. Nevertheless, if the clause be thoroughly considered, we
shall find no reason to commend the mercy of the legislature; for it
only proves, that the Jamaica law-makers will not scruple to charge the
slightest and most natural offences with the most opprobrious epithets;
and that a poor slave, who perhaps has no otherwise incurred his
master's displeasure than by endeavouring (upon the just and warrantable
principles of self-preservation,) to escape from his master's tyranny,
without any criminal intention whatsoever, is liable to be _deemed
rebellious_, and to be arraigned as a capital offender. "For every slave
and slaves that shall run away, and continue but for the space of twelve
months, except such slave or slaves as shall not have been three years
in this island, shall be _deemed rebellious_," &c. (see act 38, clause
19. p. 60.) Thus we are enabled to define what a West Indian tyrant
means by the word _rebellious_. But unjust as this clause may seem, yet
it is abundantly more merciful and considerate than a subsequent act
against the same poor miserable people, because the former assigns no
other punishment for persons so _deemed rebellious_, than that they,
"_Shall be transported_ by order of two justices and three freeholders,"
&c. whereas the latter spares not the blood of these poor injured
fugitives: For by the 66th act, a reward of 50 pounds is offered to
those who "shall kill or bring in alive any _rebellious slaves_," that
is, any of these unfortunate people whom the law has "_deemed
rebellious_," as above; and this premium is not only tendered to
commissioned parties (see 2d. clause) but even to any private "_hunter,
slave, or other person_," (see 3d. clause.) Thus it is manifest, that
the law treats these poor unhappy men with as little ceremony and
consideration as if they were merely wild beasts. But the innocent blood
that is shed in consequence of such a detestable law, must certainly
call for vengeance on the murderous abettors and actors of such
deliberate wickedness: And though many of the guilty wretches should
even be so hardened and abandoned as never afterwards to be capable of
sincere remorse, yet a time will undoubtedly come, when they will
shudder with dreadful apprehensions, on account of the insufficiency of
so wretched an excuse, as that their poor murdered brethren were by law
"_deemed rebellious_" But bad as these laws are, yet in justice to the
freeholders of Jamaica, I must acknowledge, that their laws are not near
so cruel and inhuman as the laws of Barbadoes and Virginia, and seem at
present to be much more reasonable than they have formerly been; many
very oppressive laws being now expired, and others less severe enacted
in their room.

But it is far otherwise in Barbadoes; for by the 329th act, p. 125. "If
any Negro or other slave, under punishment by his master, or his order,
for running away, or any other crimes or misdemeanors towards his said
master, unfortunately shall suffer in life, or member, (which seldom
happens) (but it is plain by this law that it does sometimes happen) _no
person whatever shall be liable to any fine therefore; but if any man
shall, of wantonness or only of bloody-mindedness, or cruel intention,
wilfully kill a Negroe or other slave of his own_;"--now the reader, to
be sure, will naturally expect, that some very severe punishment must in
this case be ordained, to deter the _wanton, bloody-minded, and cruel_
wretch, from _wilfully killing_ his fellow creatures; but alas! the
Barbadian law-makers have been so far from intending to curb such
abandoned wickedness, that they have absolutely made this law on purpose
to skreen these enormous crimes from the just indignation of any
righteous person, who might think himself bound in duty to prosecute a
bloody-minded villain; they have therefore presumptuously taken upon
them to give a sanction, as it were, by law, to the horrid crime of
wilful murder; and have accordingly ordained, that he who is guilty of
it in Barbadoes, though the act should be attended with all the
aggravating circumstances before-mentioned--"_shall pay into the public
treasury_ (no more than) _fifteen pounds sterling_," but if he shall
kill another man's, he shall pay the owner of the Negroe double the
value, and into the public treasury _twenty-five pounds sterling_; and
he shall further, by the next justice of the peace, be bound to his good
behaviour during the pleasure of the governor and council, _and not be
liable to any other punishment or forfeiture for the same_.

The most consummate wickedness, I suppose, that any body of people,
under the specious form of a legislature, were ever guilty of! This act
contains several other clauses which are shocking to humanity, though
too tedious to mention here.

According to an act of Virginia, (4 Anne, ch. 49. sec. 37. p. 227.)
"after proclamation is issued against slaves that run away and lie out,
it is lawful for any person whatsoever, _to kill and destroy such
slaves, by such ways and means as he, she, or they, shall think fit_,
without accusation or impeachment of any crime for the same," &c. And
lest private interest should incline the planter to mercy, (to which we
must suppose such people can have no other inducement) it is provided
and enacted in the succeeding clause, (No 28.) "That for _every slave
killed_, in pursuance of this act, or _put to death by law_, the master
or owner of such slave _shall be paid by the public_."

Also by an act of Virginia, (9 Geo. I. ch. 4. sect. 18. p. 343.) it is
ordained, "That, where any slave shall hereafter be found notoriously
guilty of going abroad in the night, or running away, and lying out, and
cannot be reclaimed from _such_ disorderly courses by the common method
of punishment, it shall and may be lawful to and for the court of the
county, upon complaint and proof thereof to them made by the owner of
such slave, to order and direct every such slave to be punished by
_dismembering, or any other_ way, not touching life, as the said county
court _shall think fit_."

I have already given examples enough of the horrid cruelties which are
sometimes _thought fit_ on such occasions. But if the innocent and most
natural act of "_running away_" from intolerable tyranny, deserves such
relentless severity, what kind of punishment have these law-makers
themselves to expect hereafter, on account of their own enormous
offences! Alas! to look for mercy (without a timely repentance) will
only be another instance of their gross injustice! "_Having their
consciences seared with a hot iron_," they seem to have lost all
apprehensions that their slaves are men, for they scruple not to number
them with beasts. See an act of Barbadoes, (No 333. p. 128.) intituled,
"An act for the better regulating of _outcries_ in open market:" here we
read of "_Negroes, cattle, coppers, and stills, and other chattels_,
brought by execution to open market to be outcried, and these (as if all
of equal importance) are ranged together _in great lots or numbers to be

--Page 70. In the 329th act of Barbadoes, (p. 122.) it is asserted, that
"brutish slaves deserve not, for the baseness of their condition, to _be
tried by a legal trial of twelve men of their peers, or neighbourhood_,
which neither truly can be rightly done, as the subjects of England
are;" (yet slaves also are subjects of England, whilst they remain
within the British dominions, notwithstanding this insinuation to the
contrary) "nor is execution to be delayed towards them, in case of such
horrid crimes committed," &c.

A similar doctrine is taught in an act of Virginia, (9 Geo. I. ch. 4.
sect. 3. p. 339.) wherein it is ordained, "that every slave, committing
such offence as by the laws ought to be punished by death, or loss of
member, shall be forthwith committed to the common goal of the county,
&c. And the sheriff of such county, upon such commitment, shall
forthwith certify the same, with the cause thereof, to the governor or
commander in chief, &c. who is thereupon desired and impowered to issue
a commission of Oyer and Terminer, _To such persons as he shall think
fit_; which persons, forthwith after the receipt of such commission, are
impowered and required to cause the offender to be publicly arraigned
and tried, &c. without the solemnity of a jury," &c. Now let us consider
the dangerous tendency of those laws. As Englishmen, we strenuously
contend for this absolute and immutable necessity of trials by juries:
but is not the spirit and equity of this old English doctrine entirely
lost, if we partially confine that justice to ourselves alone, when we
have it in our power to extend it to others? The natural right of all
mankind, must principally justify our insisting upon this necessary
privilege in favour of ourselves in particular; and therefore if we do
not allow that the judgment of an impartial jury is indispensably
necessary in all cases whatsoever, wherein the life of man is depending,
we certainly undermine the equitable force and reason of those laws, by
which _we ourselves are protected_, and consequently are unworthy to be
esteemed either Christians or Englishmen.

Whatever right the members of a provincial assembly may have to enact
_bye laws_, for particular exigences among themselves, yet in so doing
they are certainly bound, in duty to their sovereign, to observe most
strictly the fundamental principles of that constitution, which his
Majesty is sworn to maintain; for wheresoever the bounds of the British
empire are extended, there the common law of England must of course take
place, and cannot be safely set aside by any _private law_ whatsoever,
because the introduction of an unnatural tyranny must necessarily
endanger the King's dominions. The many alarming insurrections of slaves
in the several colonies, are sufficient proofs of this. The common law
of England ought therefore to be so established in every province, as to
include the respective _bye laws_ of each province; instead of being by
them _excluded_, which latter has been too much the case.

Every inhabitant of the British colonies, black as well as white, bond
as well as free, are undoubtedly the _King's subjects_, during their
residence within the limits of the King's dominions; and as such, are
entitled to personal protection, however bound in service to their
respective masters; therefore, when any of these are put to death,
"_without the solemnity of a jury_," I fear that there is too much
reason to attribute _the guilt of murder_ to every person concerned in
ordering, the same, or in consenting thereto; and all such persons are
certainly responsible _to the King and his laws, for the loss of a
subject_. The horrid iniquity, injustice, and dangerous tendency of the
several plantation laws which I have quoted, are so apparent, that it is
unnecessary for me to apologize for the freedom with which I have
treated them. If such laws are not absolutely necessary for the
government of slaves, the law-makers must unavoidably allow themselves
to be the most cruel and abandoned tyrants upon earth; or, perhaps, that
ever were on earth. On the other hand, if it be said, that it is
impossible to govern slaves without such inhuman severity, and
detestable injustice, the same will certainly be an invincible argument
against the least toleration of slavery amongst christians, because the
temporal profit of the planter or master, however lucrative, cannot
compensate the forfeiture of his everlasting welfare, or (at least I may
be allowed to say) the apparent danger of such a forfeiture.

Oppression is a most grievous crime, and the cries of these much injured
people, (though they are only poor ignorant heathens) will certainly
reach heaven! The scriptures (_which are the only true foundation of all
laws_) denounce a tremendous judgment against the man who should offend
even one little-one; _"It were better for him_ (even the merciful
Saviour of the world hath himself declared) _that a millstone were
hanged about his neck, and be cast into the sea, than that he should
offend one of these little ones."_ Luke xvii. 2. Who then shall attempt
to vindicate those inhuman establishments of government, under which,
even our own countrymen so grievously _offend_ and _oppress_ (not merely
_one_, or a few little ones, but) an immense multitude of _men, women,
children_, and the _children of their children_, from generation to
generation? May it not be said with like justice, it were better for the
English nation that these American dominions had never existed, or even
that they should have been sunk into the sea, than that the kingdom of
Great Britain should be loaded with the horrid guilt of tolerating such
abominable wickedness! In short, if the _King's prerogative_ is not
speedily exerted for the relief of his Majesty's oppressed and much
injured subjects in the British colonies, (because to _relieve the
subject_ from the oppression of petty tyrants is the principal use of
the royal prerogative, as well as the principal and most natural means
of maintaining the same) and for the extension of the British
constitution to the most distant colonies, whether in the East or West
Indies, it must inevitably be allowed, that great share of this enormous
guilt will certainly rest on this side the water.

I hope this hint will be taken notice of by those whom it may concern;
and that the freedom of it will be excused, as from a _loyal and
disinterested_ adviser.

Extracts from the writings

of several _noted authors_,

on the subject of the, _slavery of the Negroes_,


George Wallace,

Francis Hutcheson,

James Foster.

George Wallace, in his _System of the Principles of the Laws of
Scotland_, speaking of the slavery of the Negroes in our colonies, says,
"We all know that they (the Negroes) are purchased from their Princes,
who pretend to have a right to dispose of them, and that they are, like
other commodities, transported, by the merchants who have bought them,
into America, in order to be exposed to sale. If this trade admits of a
moral or a rational justification, every crime, even the most atrocious,
may be justified. Government was instituted for the good of mankind;
kings, princes, governors, are not proprietors of those who are subject
to their authority; they have not a right to make them miserable. On the
contrary, their authority is vested in them, that they may, by the just
exercise of it, promote the happiness of their people. Of course, they
have not a right to dispose of their liberty, and to sell them for
slaves. Besides no man has a right to acquire, or to purchase them; men
and their liberty are not _in commercio_; they are not either saleable
or purchaseable. One, therefore, has no body but himself to blame, in
case he shall find himself deprived of a man, whom he thought he had, by
buying for a price, made his own; for he dealt in a trade which was
illicit, and was prohibited by the most obvious dictates of humanity.
For these reasons, every one of those unfortunate men who are pretended
to be slaves, has a right to be declared to be free, for he never lost
his liberty; he could not lose it; his Prince had no power to dispose of
him. Of course, the sale was _ipso jure_ void. This right he carries
about with him, and is entitled every where to get it declared. As soon,
therefore, as he comes into a country in which the judges are not
forgetful of their own humanity, it is their duty to remember that he is
a man, and to declare him to be free. I know it has been said, that
questions concerning the state of persons ought to be determined by the
law of the country to which they belong; and that, therefore, one who
would be declared to be a slave in America, ought, in case he should
happen to be imported into Britain, to be adjudged, according to the law
of America, to be a slave; a doctrine than which nothing can be more
barbarous. Ought the judges of any country, out of respect to the law of
another, to shew no respect to their kind, and to humanity? out of
respect to a law, which is in no sort obligatory upon them, ought they
to disregard the law of nature, which is obligatory on all men, at all
times, and in all places? Are any laws so binding as the eternal laws of
justice? Is it doubtful, whether a judge ought to pay greater regard to
them, than to those arbitrary and inhuman usages which prevail in a
distant land? Aye, but our colonies would be ruined if slavery was
abolished. Be it so; would it not from thence follow, that the bulk of
mankind ought to be abused, that our pockets may be filled with money,
or our mouths with delicacies? The purses of highwaymen would be empty,
in case robberies were totally abolished; but have men a right to
acquire money by going out to the highway? Have men a right to acquire
it by rendering their fellow-creatures miserable? Is it lawful to abuse
mankind, that the avarice, the vanity, or the passions of a few may be
gratified? No! There is such a thing as justice to which the most sacred
regard is due. It ought to be inviolably observed. Have not these
unhappy men a better right to their liberty, and to their happiness,
than our American merchants have to the profits which they make by
torturing their kind? Let, therefore, our colonies be ruined, but let us
not render so many men miserable. Would not any of us, who should--be
snatched by pirates from his native land, think himself cruelly abused,
and at all times entitled to be free? Have not these unfortunate
Africans, who meet with the same cruel fate, the same right? Are they
not men as well as we, and have they not the same sensibility? Let us
not, therefore, defend or support a usage which is contrary to all the
laws of humanity.

"But it is false, that either we or our colonies would be ruined by the
abolition of slavery. It might occasion a stagnation of business for a
short time. Every great alteration produces that effect; because mankind
cannot, on a sudden, find ways of disposing of themselves, and of their
affairs; but it would produce many happy effects. It is the slavery
which is permitted in America, that has hindered it from becoming so
soon populous as it would otherwise have done. Let the Negroes be free,
and, in a few generations, this vast and fertile continent would be
crowded with inhabitants; learning, arts, and every thing would flourish
amongst them; instead of being inhabited by wild beasts, and by savages,
it would be peopled by philosophers, and by men."

Francis Hutcheson, professor of philosophy at the university of Glasgow,
in his _System of Moral Philosophy_, page 211, says "He who detains
another by force in slavery, is always bound to prove his title. The
slave sold, or carried into a distant country, must not be obliged to
prove a negative, that _he never forfeited his liberty_. The violent
possessor must, in all cases, shew his title, especially where the old
proprietor is well known. In this case, each man is the original
proprietor of his own liberty. The proof of his losing it must be
incumbent on those who deprive him of it by force. The Jewish laws had
great regard to justice, about the servitude of Hebrews, founding it
only on consent, or some crime or damage, allowing them always a proper
redress upon any cruel treatment, and fixing a limited time for it;
unless upon trial the servant inclined to prolong it. The laws about
foreign slaves had many merciful provisions against immoderate severity
of the masters. But under christianity, whatever lenity was due from an
Hebrew towards his countryman, must be due towards all; since the
distinctions of nations are removed, as to the point of humanity and
mercy, as well as natural right; nay, some of these rights granted over
foreign slaves, may justly be deemed only such indulgences as those of
poligamy and divorce, granting only external impunity in such practice,
and not sufficient vindication of them in conscience."

_Page_ 85. It is pleaded, that "In some barbarous nations, unless the
captives were bought for slaves, they would be all murthered. They,
therefore, owe their lives, and all they can do, to their purchasers;
and so do their children, who would not otherwise have come into life."
But this whole plea is no more than that of _negotium utile gestum_ to
which any civilized nation is bound by humanity; it is a prudent
expensive office, done for the service of others without a gratuitous
intention; and this founds no other right, than that to full
compensation of all charges and labour employed for the benefit of

A set of inaccurate popular phrases blind us in these matters; "Captives
owe their lives, and all to the purchasers, say they. Just in the same
manner, we, our nobles, and princes, often owe our lives to midwives,
chirurgeons, physicians," &c. one who was the means of preserving a
man's life, is not therefore entitled to make him a slave, and sell him
as a piece of goods. Strange, that in a nation where the sense of
liberty prevails, where the christian religion is professed, custom and
high prospects of gain can so stupify the conscience of men, and all
sense of natural justice, that they can hear such computations made
about the value of their fellow-men, and their liberty, without
abhorrence and indignation.

_James Foster_, D.D. in his _discourses on natural religion_ and _social
virtue_ also shews his just indignation at this wicked practice; which
he declares to be "_a criminal and outrageous violation of the natural
right of mankind_." At _page_ 156, vol. 2 he says, "Should we have read
concerning the Greeks or Romans of old, that they traded with a view to
make slaves of their own species, when they certainly knew that this
would involve in schemes of blood and murder, of destroying, or
enslaving each other; that they even fomented wars, and engaged whole
nations and tribes in open hostilities, for their own private advantage;
that they had no detestation of the violence and cruelty, but only
feared the ill success of their inhuman enterprises; that they carried
men like themselves, their brethren, and the off-spring of the same
common parent, to be sold like beasts of prey, or beasts of burden, and
put them to the same reproachful trial, of their soundness, strength,
and capacity for greater bodily service; that quite forgetting and
renouncing the original dignity of human nature, communicated to all,
they treated them with more severity, and ruder discipline, than even
the _ox_ or the _ass_, who are _void of understanding_--should we not,
if this had been the case, have naturally been led to despise all their
_pretended refinements of morality_; and to have concluded, that as they
were not nations destitute of politeness, they must have been _entire
strangers to virtue and benevolence_?

"But notwithstanding this, we ourselves (who profess to be christians,
and boast of the peculiar advantage we enjoy, by means of an express
revelation of our duty from heaven) are, in effect, these very untaught
and rude heathen countries. With all our superior light, we instill into
those, whom we call savage and barbarous, the most despicable opinion of
human nature. We, to the utmost of our power, weaken and dissolve the
universal tie, that binds and unites mankind. We practise what we should
exclaim against, as the utmost excess of cruelty and tyranny, if nations
of the world, differing in colour, and form of government, from
ourselves, were so possessed of empire, as to be able to reduce us to a
state of unmerited and brutish servitude. Of consequence, we sacrifice
our reason, our humanity, our christianity, to an unnatural sordid gain.
We teach other nations to despise, and trample under foot, all the
obligations of social virtue. We take the most effectual method to
prevent the propagation of the gospel, by representing it as a scheme of
power and barbarous oppression, and an enemy to the natural privileges
and rights of men.

"Perhaps all that I have now offered, may be of very little weight to
restrain this enormity, this aggravated iniquity; however, I still have
the satisfaction of having entered my private protest against a
practice, which, in my opinion, bids that God, who is the God and Father
of the Gentiles, unconverted to christianity, most daring and bold
defiance, and spurns at all the principles both of natural and revealed



in the


of MARCH 19, 1767.


Permit me, in your paper, to address the members of our assembly on two
points, in which the public interest is very nearly concerned.

The abolition of slavery, and the retrieval of specie in this colony,
are the subjects on which I would bespeak their attention.--

Long and serious reflections upon the nature and consequences of slavery
have convinced me, that it is a violation both of justice and religion;
that it is dangerous to the safety of the community in which it
prevails; that it is destructive to the growth of arts and sciences; and
lastly, that it produces a numerous and very fatal train of vices, both
in the slave and in his master.

To prove these assertions, shall be the purpose of the following essay.

That slavery then is a violation of justice, will plainly appear, when
we consider what justice is. It is truly and simply defined, as by
_Justinian, constans et perpetua voluntas ejus suum cuique tribuendi_; a
constant endeavour to give every man his right.

Now, as freedom is unquestionably the birth-right of all mankind,
_Africans_ as well as _Europeans_, to keep the former in a state of
slavery, is a constant violation of that right, and therefore of

The ground on which the civilians who favour slavery, admit it to be
just, namely, consent, force, and birth, is totally disputable; for
surely a man's own will and consent cannot be allowed to introduce so
important an innovation into society, as slavery, or to make himself an
outlaw, which is really the state of a slave; since neither consenting
to, nor aiding the laws of the society in which he lives, he is neither
bound to obey them, nor entitled to their protection.

To found any right in force, is to frustrate all right, and involve
every thing in confusion, violence, and rapine. With these two, the last
must fall; since, if the parent cannot justly be made a slave, neither
can the child be born in slavery. "The law of nations, says Baron
_Montesquieu_, has doomed prisoners to slavery, to prevent their being
slain; the _Roman_ civil law permitted debtors, whom their creditors
might treat ill, to sell themselves. And the law of nature requires that
children, whom their parents, being slaves, cannot maintain, should be
slaves like them. These reasons of the civilians are not just; it is not
true that a captive may be slain, unless in a case of absolute
necessity; but if he hath been reduced to slavery, it is plain that no
such necessity existed, since he was not slain. It is not true that a
free man can sell himself, for sale supposes a price; but a slave and
his property becomes immediately that of his master; the slave can
therefore receive no price, nor the master pay, &c. And if a man cannot
sell himself, nor a prisoner of war be reduced to slavery, much less can
his child." Such are the sentiments of this illustrious civilian; his
reasonings, which I have been obliged to contract, the reader interested
in this subject will do well to consult at large.

Yet even these rights of imposing slavery, questionable, nay, refutable
as they are, we have not to authorise the bondage of the _Africans_. For
neither do they consent to be our slaves, nor do we purchase them of
their conquerors. The _British_ merchants obtain them from _Africa_ by
violence, artifice, and treachery, with a few trinkets to prompt those
unfortunate people to enslave one another by force or stratagem.
Purchase them indeed they may, under the authority of an act of the
British parliament. An act entailing upon the _Africans_, with whom we
are not at war, and over whom a British parliament could not of right
assume even a shadow of authority, the dreadful curse of perpetual
slavery, upon them and their children for ever. _There cannot be in
nature, there is not in all history, an instance in which every right of
men is more flagrantly violated._ The laws of the antients never
authorised the making slaves, but of those nations whom they had
conquered; yet they were heathens, and we are christians. They were
misled by a monstrous religion, divested of humanity, by a horrible and
barbarous worship; we are directed by the unerring precepts of the
revealed religion we possess, enlightened by its wisdom, and humanized
by its benevolence; before them, were gods deformed with passions, and
horrible for every cruelty and vice; before us, is that incomparable
pattern of meekness, charity, love and justice to mankind, which so
transcendently distinguished the Founder of christianity, and his ever
amiable doctrines.

Reader, remember that the corner stone of your religion, is to do unto
others as you would they should do unto you; ask then your own heart,
whether it would not abhor any one, as the most outrageous violater of
that and every other principle of right, justice, and humanity, who
should make a slave of you and your posterity for ever! Remember, that
God knoweth the heart; lay not this flattering unction to your soul,
that it is the custom of the country; that you found it so, that not
your will; but your necessity, consents. Ah! think how little such an
excuse will avail you in that aweful day, when your Saviour shall
pronounce judgment on you for breaking a law too plain to be
misunderstood, too sacred to be violated. If we say we are christians,
yet act more inhumanly and unjustly than heathens, with what dreadful
justice must this sentence of our blessed Saviour fall upon us, "_Not
every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of
heaven, but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heaven."_
Matth. vii. 21. Think a moment how much your temporal, your eternal
welfare depends upon an abolition of a practice which deforms the image
of your God, tramples on his revealed will, infringes the most sacred
rights, and violates humanity.

Enough, I hope, has been asserted, to prove that slavery is a violation
of justice and religion. That it is dangerous to the safety of the state
in which it prevails, may be as safely asserted.

What one's own experience has not taught; that of others must decide.
From hence does history derive its utility; for being, when truly
written, a faithful record of the transactions of mankind, and the
consequences that flowed from them, we are thence furnished with the
means of judging what will be the probable effect of transactions,
similar among ourselves.

We learn then from history, that slavery, wherever encouraged, has
sooner or later been productive of very dangerous commotions. I will not
trouble my reader here with quotations in support of this assertion, but
content myself with referring those, who may be dubious of its truth, to
the histories of Athens, Lacedemon, Rome, and Spain.

How long, how bloody and destructive was the contest between the Moorish
slaves and the native Spaniards? and after almost deluges of blood had
been shed, the Spaniards obtained nothing more than driving them into
the mountains.--Less bloody indeed, though, not less alarming, have been
the insurrections in Jamaica; and to imagine that we shall be for ever
exempted from this calamity, which experience teaches us to be
inseparable from slavery, so encouraged; is an infatuation as
astonishing as it will be surely fatal:--&c. &c.






Before the SOCIETY For the PROPAGATION of the GOSPEL, at the anniversary
meeting on the 21st of _February_, 1766.

From the free-savages, I now come (the last point I propose to consider)
to the savages in bonds. By these I mean the vast multitudes yearly
stolen from the opposite continent, and sacrificed by the colonists to
their great idol, the GOD OF GAIN. But what then? say these sincere
worshippers of _Mammon_; they are our own property which we offer up.
Gracious God! to talk (as in herds of cattle) of property in rational
creatures! creatures endowed with all our faculties; possessing all our
qualities but that of colour; our brethren both by nature and grace,
shocks all the feelings of humanity, and the dictates of common sense.
But, alas! what is there in the infinite abuses of society which does
not shock them? Yet nothing is more certain in itself, and apparent to
all, than that the infamous traffic for slaves directly infringes both
divine and human law. Nature created man free, and grace invites him to
assert his freedom. In excuse of this violation, it hath been pretended,
that though indeed these miserable out-casts of humanity be torn from
their homes and native country by fraud and violence, yet they thereby
become the happier, and their condition the more eligible. But who are
You, who pretend to judge of another man's happiness? That state, which
each man, under the guidance of his Maker, forms for himself, and not
one man for another? To know what constitutes mine or your happiness, is
the sole prerogative of Him who created us, and cast us in so various
and different moulds. Did your slaves ever complain to you of their
unhappiness amidst their native woods and deserts? Or, rather, let me
ask, did they ever cease complaining of their condition under you their
lordly masters? where they see, indeed, the accommodations of civil
life, but see them all pass to others, themselves unbenefited by them.
Be so gracious then, ye petty tyrants over human freedom, to let your
slaves judge for themselves, what it is which makes their own happiness.
And then see whether they do not place it in the return to their own
country, rather than in the contemplation of your grandeur, of which
their misery makes so large a part. A return so passionately longed for,
that despairing of happiness here, that is, of escaping the chains of
their cruel task-masters, they console themselves with feigning it to be
the gracious reward of heaven in their future state, which I do not find
their haughty masters have as yet concerned themselves to invade. The
less hardy, indeed, wait for this felicity till over-wearied nature sets
them free; but the more resolved have recourse even to self-violence, to
force a speedier passage.

But it will be still urged, that though what is called human happiness
be of so fantastic a nature, that each man's imagination creates it for
himself, yet human misery is more substantial and uniform throughout all
the tribes of mankind. Now, from the worst of human miseries, the savage
Africans, by these forced emigrations, are intirely secured; such as the
being perpetually hunted down like beasts of prey or profit, by their
more savage and powerful neighbours--In truth, a blessed change!--from
being hunted to being caught. But who are they that have set on foot
this general HUNTING? Are they not these very civilized violaters of
humanity themselves? who tempt the weak appetites, and provoke the wild
passions of the fiercer savages to prey upon the rest.




_Adanson_ (M.) his account of the country on the rivers _Senegal_ and
_Gambia_, 14. Extraordinary fertility, _ibid._ Surprising vegetation,
15. Beautiful aspect of the country, 16. Good disposition of the
natives, _ibid._

_Advertisements in the New-York Journal_, for the sale of slaves, 158.
Also in the news-papers of _London_, 160.

_Africa_, that part from whence the Negroe slaves are brought, how
divided, 6. Capable of a considerable trade, 143.

Alien (every) or stranger coming within the King's dominion, becomes a
subject, 148.

Antientest account of the Negroes, 41. Were then a simple innocent
people, 43.

_Angola_, a plentiful country, 39. Character of the natives, 40.
Government, _ibid._


_Barbadoes_ (laws of) respecting Negroe slaves, 170.

_Barbot (John)_ agent general of the _French African Company_, his
account of the _Gold Coast_, 25. Of the _Slave Coast_, 27.

_Bosman (William)_ principal factor for the _Dutch_ at _D'Elmina_, his
account of the _Gold Coast_, 23. Of the _Slave Coast_, 27.

_Brue (Andrew)_ principal factor of the _French African Company_, his
account of the country on the river _Senegal_, 7. And on the river
_Gambia_, 8.

_Benin_ (kingdom of) good character of the natives, 35. Punishment of
crimes, 36. Order of government, _ibid._ Largeness and order of the city
of _Great Benin_, 37.

_Britons_ (antient) in their original state no less barbarous than the
_African_ Negroes, 68.

_Baxter (Richard)_ his testimony against slavery, 83.


Corruption of some of the Kings of _Guinea_, 107.


_De la Casa_ (bishop of _Chapia_) his concern for the _Indians_, 47. His
speech to _Charles_ the Fifth Emperor of _Germany_ and King of _Spain_,
48. Prodigious destruction of the _Indians_ in _Hispaniola_, 51.

_Divine principle_ in every man, its effects on those who obey its
dictates, 14.


_Elizabeth_ (Queen) her caution to captain Hawkins not to enslave any of
the Negroes, 55.

_English_, their first trade on the coast of Guinea, 52.

_Europeans_ are the principal cause of the wars which subsist amongst
the Negroes, 61.

_English_ laws allow no man, of what condition soever, to be deprived of
his liberty, without a legal process, 150. The danger of confining any
person without a warrant, 162.


Fishing, a considerable business on the Guinea coast, 26. How carried
on, _ibid._

_Foster (James)_ his testimony against slavery, 186.

_Fuli_ Negroes good farmers, 10. Those on the _Gambia_ particularly
recommended for their industry and good behaviour, _ibid._

_France_ (King of) objects to the Negroes in his dominions being reduced
to a state of slavery, 58.


_Gambia (river)_8, 14.

_Gloucester_ (bishop of) extract of his sermon, 195.

_Godwyn (Morgan)_ his plea in favour of the Negroes and Indians, 75.
Complains of the cruelties exercised upon slaves, 76. A false opinion
prevailed in his time, that the Negroes were not objects of redeeming
grace, 77.

_Gold Coast_ has several European factories, 22. Great trade for slaves,
_ibid._ Carried on far in the inland country, _ibid._ Natives more
reconciled to the Europeans, and more diligent in procuring slaves,
_ibid._ Extraordinarily fruitful and agreeable, 22, 25. The natives
industrious, 24.

_Great Britain_, all persons during their residence there are the King's
subjects, 148.

_Guinea_ extraordinarily fertile, 2. Extremely unhealthy to the
Europeans, 4. But agrees well with the natives, _ibid._ Prodigious
rising of waters, _ibid._ Hot winds, _ibid._ Surprising vegetation, 15.


_Hawkins_ (captain) lands on the coast of Guinea and seizes on a number
of the natives, which he sells to the Spaniards, 55.

_Hottentots_ misrepresented by authors, 101. True account given of these
people by Kolben, 102. Love of liberty and sloth their prevailing
passions, 102. Distinguished by several virtues, 103. Firm in alliances,
_ibid._ Offended at the vices predominant amongst christians, 104. Make
nor keep no slaves, _ibid._

_Hughes (Griffith)_ his account of the number of Negroes in Barbadoes,
85. Speaks well of their natural capacities, 86.

Husbandry of the Negroes carried on in common, 28.

_Hutcheson (Francis)_ his declaration against slavery, 184.


_Jalof_ Negroes, their government, 9.

_Indians_ grievously oppressed by the Spaniards, 47. Their cause pleaded
by Bartholomew De la Casa, 48. Inland people, good account of them, 25.

_Ivory Coast_ fertile, &c. 18. Natives falsely represented to be a
treacherous people, _ibid._ Kind when well used, 19. Have no European
factories amongst them, 21. And but few wars; therefore few slaves to be
had there, 22.


Jury, Negroes tried and condemned without the solemnity of a jury, 174.
Highly repugnant to the English constitution, 176. Dangerous to those
concerned therein, _ibid._


Laws in Guinea severe against man-stealing, and other crimes, 106.


_Mandingoe_ Negroes a numerous nation, 11. Great traders, _ibid._
Laborious, 11. Their government, 13. Their worship, _ibid_. Manner of
tillage, _ibid._ At Galem they suffer none to be made slaves but
criminals, 20.

_Maloyans_ (a black people) sometimes sold amongst Negroes brought from
very distant parts, 27.

Markets regularly kept on the Gold and Slave Coasts, 30.

_Montesquieu's_ sentiments on slavery, 72.

_Moor (Francis)_ factor to the African company, his account of the
slave-trade on the river Gambia, 111.

Mosaic law merciful in its chastisements, 73. Has respect to human
nature, _ibid._


National wars disapproved by the most considerate amongst the Negroes,

_Negroes_ (in Guinea) generally a humane, sociable people, 2. Simplicity
of their way of living, 5. Agreeable in conversation, 16. Sensible of
the damage accruing to them from the slave-trade, 61. Misrepresented by
most authors, 98. Offended at the brutality of the European factors,
116. Shocking cruelties exercised on them by masters of vessels, 124.
How many are yearly brought from Guinea by the English, 129. The numbers
who die on the passage and in the seasoning, 120.

_Negroe_ slaves (in the colonies) allowed to cohabit and separate at
pleasure, 36. Great waste of them thro' hard usage in the islands, 86.
Melancholy case of two of them, 136. Proposals for setting them free,
129. Tried and condemned without the solemnity of a jury, 174.

_Negroes_ (free) discouragement they met with, 133.


_Portugueze_ carry on a great trade for slaves at Angola, 40. Make the
first incursions into Guinea, 44. From whence they carry off some of the
natives, _ibid._ Beginners of the slave-trade, 46. Erect the first fort
at D'Elmina, _ibid._


_Rome_ (the college of cardinals at) complain of the abuse offered to
the Negroes in selling them for slaves, 58.


_Senegal_ (river) account of, 7, 14.

Ship (account of one) blown up on the coast of Guinea with a number of
Negroes on board, 125.

Slave-trade, how carried on at the river Gambia, 111. And in other parts
of Guinea, 113. At Whidah, 115.

Slaves used with much more lenity in Algiers and in Turkey than in our
colonies, 70. Likewise in Guinea, 71. Slavery more tolerable amongst the
antient Pagans than in our colonies, 63. Declined, as christianity
prevailed, 65. Early laws in France for its abolishment, 66. If put an
end to, would make way for a very extensive trade through Africa, 143.
The danger of slavery taking place in England, 164.

_Sloane_ (Sir Hans) his account of the inhuman and extravagant
punishments inflicted on Negroes, 89.

_Smith (William)_ surveyor to the African company, his account of the
Ivory Coast, 20. Of the Gold Coast, 24.


VIRGINIA (laws), respecting Negro slaves, 172. _Virginia_ (address to
the assembly) setting forth the iniquity and danger of slavery, 189.


WALLACE (_George_) his testimony against slavery, 180.

_West Indies_, white people able to perform the necessary work there,

_Whidah_ (kingdom of) agreeable and fruitful, 27. Natives treat one
another with respect, 29.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Some Historical Account of Guinea, Its Situation, Produce, and the General Disposition of Its Inhabitants - An Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave Trade, Its Nature and Lamentable Effects" ***

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