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Title: White Slavery in the Barbary States
Author: Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874
Language: English
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                ----Mutato nomine, de te
    Fabula narratur.


    And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such
    things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of

        EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, Chap. ii. v. 3.





Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1853, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court

of the District of Massachusetts.








in the


History has been sometimes called a gallery, where, in living forms, are
preserved the scenes, the incidents, and the characters of the past. It
may also be called the world's great charnel house, where are gathered
coffins, dead men's bones, and all the uncleanness of the years that
have fled. As we walk among its pictures, radiant with the inspiration
of virtue and of freedom, we confess a new impulse to beneficent
exertion. As we grope amidst the unsightly shapes that have been left
without an epitaph, we may at least derive a fresh aversion to all their
living representatives.

In this mighty gallery, amidst a heavenly light, are the images of the
benefactors of mankind--the poets who have sung the praise of virtue,
the historians who have recorded its achievements, and the good men of
all time, who, by word or deed, have striven for the welfare of others.
Here are depicted those scenes where the divinity of man has been made
manifest in trial and danger. Here also are those grand incidents which
attended the establishment of the free institutions of the world; the
signing of Magna Charta, with its priceless privileges of freedom, by a
reluctant monarch; and the signing of the Declaration of Independence,
the annunciation of the inalienable rights of man, by the fathers of our

On the other hand, in ignominious confusion, far down in this dark,
dreary charnel house is tumbled all that now remains of the tyrants, the
persecutors, the selfish men, under whom mankind have groaned. Here
also, in festering, loathsome decay, are the monstrous institutions or
customs, which the earth, weary of their infamy and injustice, has
refused to sustain--the Helotism of Sparta, the Serfdom of Christian
Europe, the Ordeal by Battle, and Algerine Slavery.

From this charnel house let me to-night draw forth one of these. It may
not be without profit to dwell on the _origin_, the _history_, and the
_character_ of a custom, which, after being for a long time a byword and
a hissing among the nations, has at last been driven from the world. The
easy, instinctive, positive reprobation, which it will receive from all,
must necessarily direct our judgment of other institutions, yet
tolerated in equal defiance of justice and humanity. I propose to
consider the subject of _White Slavery in Algiers_, or perhaps it might
be more appropriately called _White Slavery in the Barbary States_. As
Algiers was its chief seat, it seems to have acquired a current name
from that place. This I shall not disturb; though I shall speak of White
Slavery, or the Slavery of Christians, throughout the Barbary States.

If this subject should fail in interest, it cannot fail in novelty. I am
not aware of any previous attempt to combine its scattered materials in
a connected essay.


The territory now known as the Barbary States is memorable in history.
Classical inscriptions, broken arches, and ancient tombs--the memorials
of various ages--still bear instructive witness to the revolutions which
it has encountered.[1] Early Greek legend made it the home of terror and
of happiness. Here was the retreat of the Gorgon, with snaky tresses,
turning all she looked upon into stone; and here also the garden of the
Hesperides, with its apples of gold. It was the scene of adventure and
mythology. Here Hercules wrestled with Antæus, and Atlas sustained, with
weary shoulders, the overarching sky. Phoenician fugitives early
transported the spirit of commerce to its coasts; and Carthage, which
these wanderers here planted, became the mistress of the seas, the
explorer of distant regions, the rival and the victim of Rome. The
energy and subtlety of Jugurtha here baffled for a while the Roman
power, till at last the whole country, from Egypt to the Pillars of
Hercules, underwent the process of "annexation" to the cormorant
republic of ancient times. A thriving population and fertile soil
rendered it an immense granary. It was filled with famous cities, one of
which was the refuge and the grave of Cato, fleeing from the usurpations
of Cæsar. At a later day, Christianity was here preached by some of her
most saintly bishops. The torrent of the Vandals, first wasting Italy,
next passed over this territory; and the arms of Belisarius here
obtained their most signal triumphs. The Saracens, with the Koran and
the sword, potent ministers of conversion, next broke from Arabia, as
the messengers of a new religion, and, pouring along these shores,
diffused the faith and doctrines of Mohammed. Their empire was not
confined even by these expansive limits; but, under Musa, entered Spain,
and afterwards at Roncesvalles, in "dolorous rout," overthrew the
embattled chivalry of the Christian world led by Charlemagne.

[Footnote 1: The classical student will be gratified and surprised by
the remains of antiquity described by Dr. Shaw, English chaplain at
Algiers in the reign of George the First, in his _Travels and
Observertions relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant_,
published in 1738.]

The Saracenic power did not long retain its unity or importance; and, as
we view this territory, in the dawn of modern history, when the
countries of Europe are appearing in their new nationalities, we discern
five different communities or states,--Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli,
and Barca,--the latter of little moment, and often included in Tripoli,
the whole constituting what was then, and is still, called the Barbary
States. This name has sometimes been referred to the Berbers, or
Berebbers, constituting a part of the inhabitants; but I delight to
follow the classic authority of Gibbon, who thinks[2] that the term,
first applied by Greek pride to all strangers, and finally reserved for
those only who were savage or hostile, has justly settled, as a local
denomination, along the northern coast of Africa. The Barbary States,
then, bear their past character in their name.

[Footnote 2: Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. ix. chap. lvi.
p. 465.]

They occupy an important space on the earth's surface; on the north,
washed by the Mediterranean Sea, furnishing such opportunities of prompt
intercourse with Southern Europe, that Cato was able to exhibit in the
Roman Senate figs freshly plucked in the gardens of Carthage; bounded on
the east by Egypt, on the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the south
by the vast, indefinite, sandy, flinty wastes of Sahara, separating them
from Soudan or Negroland. In the advantages of position they surpass
every other part of Africa,--unless we except Egypt,--communicating
easily with the Christian nations, and thus, as it were, touching the
very hem and border of civilization.

Climate adds its attractions to this region, which is removed from the
cold of the north and the burning heats of the tropics, while it is
enriched with oranges, citrons, olives, figs, pomegranates, and
luxuriant flowers. Its position and character invite a singular and
suggestive comparison. It is placed between the twenty-ninth and
thirty-eighth degrees of north latitude, occupying nearly the same
parallels with the Slave States of our Union. It extends over nearly the
same number of degrees of longitude with our Slave States, which seem
now, alas! to stretch from the Atlantic Ocean to the Rio Grande. It is
supposed to embrace about 700,000 square miles, which cannot be far from
the space comprehended by what may be called the _Barbary States of
America_.[3] Nor does the comparison end here. Algiers, for a long time
the most obnoxious place in the Barbary States of Africa, the chief seat
of Christian slavery, and once branded by an indignant chronicler as
"the wall of the barbarian world," is situated near the parallel of 36°
30' north latitude, being the line of what is termed the Missouri
Compromise, marking the "wall" of Christian slavery, in our country,
west of the Mississippi.

[Footnote 3: Jefferson, without recognizing the general parallel,
alludes to Virginia as fast sinking to be "the _Barbary_ of the
Union."--Writings, vol. iv. p. 333.]


Other less important points of likeness between the two territories may
be observed. They are each washed, to the same extent, by ocean and sea;
with this difference, that the two regions are thus exposed on directly
opposite coasts--the African Barbary being bounded in this way on the
north and west, and our American Barbary on the south and east. But
there are no two spaces, on the surface of the globe, of equal extent,
(and an examination of the map will verify what I am about to state,)
which present so many distinctive features of resemblance; whether we
consider the parallels of latitude on which they lie, the nature of
their boundaries, their productions, their climate, or the "peculiar
domestic institution" which has sought shelter in both.

I introduce these comparisons in order to bring home to your minds, as
near as possible, the precise position and character of the territory
which was the seat of the evil I am about to describe. It might be
worthy of inquiry, why Christian slavery, banished at last from Europe,
banished also from that part of this hemisphere which corresponds in
latitude to Europe, should have intrenched itself, in both hemispheres,
between the same parallels of latitude; so that Virginia, Carolina,
Mississippi, and Texas should be the American complement to Morocco,
Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Perhaps the common peculiarities of
climate, breeding indolence, lassitude, and selfishness, may account for
the insensibility to the claims of justice and humanity which have
characterized both regions.

The revolting custom of White Slavery in the Barbary States was, for
many years, the shame of modern civilization. The nations of Europe made
constant efforts, continued through successive centuries, to procure its
_abolition_, and also to rescue their subjects from its fearful doom.
These may be traced in the diversified pages of history, and in the
authentic memoirs of the times. Literature also affords illustrations,
which must not be neglected. At one period, the French, the Italians,
and the Spaniards borrowed the plots of their stories mostly from this
source.[4] The adventures of Robinson Crusoe make our childhood familiar
with one of its forms. Among his early trials, he was piratically
captured by a rover from Salle, a port of Morocco, on the Atlantic
Ocean, and reduced to slavery. "At this surprising change of
circumstances," he says, "from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was
perfectly overwhelmed; and now I looked back upon my father's prophetic
discourse to me, that I should be miserable, and have none to relieve
me, which I thought was so effectually brought to pass, that I could not
be worse." And Cervantes, in the story of Don Quixote, over which so
many generations have shaken with laughter, turns aside from its genial
current to give the narrative of a Spanish captive who had escaped from
Algiers. The author is supposed to have drawn from his own experience;
for during five years and a half he endured the horrors of Algerine
slavery, from which he was finally liberated by a ransom of about six
hundred dollars.[5] This inconsiderable sum of money--less than the
price of an intelligent African slave in our own Southern States--gave
to freedom, to his country, and to mankind the author of Don Quixote.

[Footnote 4: Sismondi's Literature of the South of Europe, vol. iii.
chap. 29, p. 492.]

[Footnote 5: The exact amount is left uncertain both by Smollet and
Thomas Roscoe in their lives of Cervantes. It appears that it was five
hundred gold crowns of Spain, which, according to his Spanish
biographer, Navarrete, is 6770 reals, (_Vida de Cervantes_, p. 371.) The
real is supposed to be less than ten cents.]


In Cervantes freedom gained a champion whose efforts entitle him to
grateful mention, on this threshold of our inquiry. Taught in the
school of slavery, he knew how to commiserate the slave. The unhappy
condition of his fellow-Christians in chains was ever uppermost in his
mind. He lost no opportunity of arousing his countrymen to attempts
for their emancipation, and for the overthrow of the "peculiar
institution"--pardon this returning phrase!--under which they groaned.
He became in Spain what, in our day and country, is sometimes called an
"Anti-Slavery Agitator"--not by public meetings and addresses, but,
according to the genius of the age, mainly through the instrumentality
of the theatre. Not from the platform, but from the stage, did this
liberated slave speak to the world. In a drama, entitled _El Trato de
Argel_, or Life in Algiers,--which, though not composed according to the
rules of art, yet found much favor, probably from its subject,--he
pictured, shortly after his return to Spain, the manifold humiliations,
pains, and torments of slavery. This was followed by two others in the
same spirit--_La Gran Sultana Dona Cattalina de Oviedo_, The Great
Sultana the Lady Cattalina of Oviedo; and _Los Banos de Argel_, The
Galleys of Algiers. The last act of the latter closes with the
statement, calculated to enlist the sympathies of an audience, that this
play "is not drawn from the imagination, but was born far from the
regions of fiction, in the very heart of truth." Not content with this
appeal through the theatre, Cervantes, with constant zeal, takes up the
same theme, in the tale of the Captive, in Don Quixote, as we have
already seen, and also in that of _El Liberal Amante_, The Liberal
Lover, and in some parts of _La Espanola Inglesa_, The English
Spanishwoman. All these may be regarded, not merely as literary labors,
but as charitable endeavors in behalf of human freedom.


And this same cause enlisted also a prolific contemporary genius, called
by Cervantes "that prodigy," Lopé de Vega, who commended it in a play
entitled _Los Cautivos de Argel_, The Captives of Algiers. At a later
day, Calderon, sometimes exalted as the Shakspeare of the Spanish
stage, in one of his most remarkable dramas, _El Principe Constante_,
The Constant Prince, cast a poet's glance at Christian slavery
in Morocco. To these works--belonging to what may be called the
literature of Anti-Slavery, and shedding upon our subject a grateful
light--must be added a curious and learned volume, in Spanish, on the
Topography and History of Algiers, by Haedo, a father of the Catholic
Church,--_Topografia y Historia de Argel por Fra Haedo_,--published in
1612; and containing also two copious Dialogues--one on Captivity (_de
la Captiudad_), and the other on the Martyrs of Algiers, (_de los
Martyres de Argel_). These Dialogues, besides embodying authentic
sketches of the sufferings in Algiers, form a mine of classical and
patristic learning on the origin and character of slavery, with
arguments and protestations against its iniquity, which may be explored
with profit, even in our day. In view of this gigantic evil,
particularly in Algiers, and in the hope of arousing his countrymen to
the generous work of emancipation, the good father exclaims,[6] in words
which will continue to thrill the soul,--so long as a single fetter
binds a single slave,--"Where is charity? Where is the love of God?
Where is the zeal for his glory? Where is desire for his service? Where
is human pity and the compassion of man for man? Certainly to redeem a
captive, to liberate him from wretched slavery, is the highest work of
charity, of all that can be done in this world."

[Footnote 6: Pp. 140, 141.]


Not long after the dark experience of Cervantes, another person, of
another country and language, and of a still higher character, St.
Vincent de Paul, of France, underwent the same cruel lot. Happily for
the world, he escaped from slavery, to commence at home that long career
of charity--nobler than any glories of literature--signalized by various
Christian efforts, against duels, for peace, for the poor, and in every
field of humanity--by which he is placed among the great names of
Christendom. Princes and orators have lavished panegyrics upon this
fugitive slave; and the Catholic Church, in homage to his extraordinary
virtues, has introduced him into the company of saints. Nor is he the
only illustrious Frenchman who has felt the yoke of slavery. Almost
within our own day, Arago, the astronomer and philosopher,--devoted
republican, I may add also,--while engaged, early in life, in those
scientific labors, on the coast of the Mediterranean, which made the
beginning of his fame, fell a prey to Algerine slave dealers. What
science and the world have gained by his emancipation I need not say.

Thus Science, Literature, Freedom, Philanthropy, the Catholic Church,
each and all, confess a debt to the liberated Barbary slave. May they,
on this occasion, as beneficent heralds, commend the story of his
wrongs, his struggles, and his triumphs!


These preliminary remarks properly prepare the way for the subject to
which I have invited your attention. In presenting it, I shall naturally
be led to touch upon the _origin of slavery_, and the principles which
lie at its foundation, before proceeding to exhibit the efforts for its
abolition, and their final success in the Barbary States.

I. The word _slave_, suggesting now so much of human abasement, has an
origin which speaks of human grandeur. Its parent term, _Slava_,
signifying _glory_, in the Slavonian dialects, where it first appears,
was proudly assumed as the national designation of the races in the
north-eastern part of the European continent, who, in the vicissitudes
of war, were afterwards degraded from the condition of conquerors to
that of servitude. The Slavonian bondman, retaining his national name,
was known as a _Slave_, and this term--passing from a _race_ to a
_class_--was afterwards applied, in the languages of modern Europe, to
all in his unhappy lot, without distinction of country or color.[7] It
would be difficult to mention any word which has played such opposite
parts in history--now beneath the garb of servitude, concealing its
early robes of pride. And yet, startling as it may seem, this word may
properly be received in its primitive character, in our own day, by
those among us who consider slavery essential to democratic
institutions, and therefore a part of the true _glory_ of the country!

[Footnote 7: Gibbon's Roman Empire, vol. x. chap. 55, p. 190.]

Slavery was universally recognized by the nations of antiquity. It is
said by Pliny, in a bold phrase, that the Lacedæmonians "invented
slavery."[8] If this were so, the glory of Lycurgus and Leonidas would
not compensate for such a blot upon their character. It is true that
they recognized it, and gave it a shape of peculiar hardship. But
slavery is older than Sparta. It appears in the tents of Abraham; for
the three hundred and eighteen servants born to him were slaves. It
appears in the story of Joseph, who was sold by his brothers to the
Midianites for twenty pieces of silver.[9] It appears in the poetry of
Homer, who stamps it with a reprobation which can never be forgotten,
when he says,[10]--

    Jove fixed it certain, that whatever day
    Makes man a slave takes half his worth away.

[Footnote 8: Nat. Hist. lib. vii. c. 57.]

[Footnote 9: Genesis xiv. 14; ibid, xxxvii. 28. By these and other texts
of the Scriptures, slavery, and even the _slave trade_, have been
vindicated. See Bruce's Travels in Africa, vol. ii. p. 319. After
quoting these texts, the complacent traveller says he "cannot think that
purchasing slaves is either cruel or unnatural."]

[Footnote 10: Odyssey, book xvii.]

In later days it prevailed extensively in Greece, whose haughty people
deemed themselves justified in enslaving all who were strangers to their
manners and institutions. "The Greek has the right to be the master of
the barbarian," was the sentiment of Euripides, one of the first of her
poets, which was echoed by Aristotle, the greatest of her
intellects.[11] And even Plato, in his imaginary republic, the Utopia of
his beautiful genius, sanctions slavery. But, notwithstanding these high
names, we learn from Aristotle himself that there were persons in his
day--pestilent abolitionists of ancient Athens--who did not hesitate to
maintain that liberty was the great law of nature, and to deny any
difference between the master and the slave; declaring openly that
slavery was founded upon violence, and not upon right, and that the
authority of the master was unnatural and unjust.[12] "God sent forth
all persons free; nature has made no man a slave," was the protest of
one of these dissenting Athenians against this great wrong. I am not in
any way authorized to speak for any Anti-slavery society, even if this
were a proper occasion; but I presume that this ancient Greek morality
substantially embodies the principles which are maintained at their
public meetings--so far, at least, as they relate to slavery.

[Footnote 11: Pol. lib. i. c. 1.]

[Footnote 12: Pol. lib. i. c. 3. In like spirit are the words of the
good Las Casas, when pleading before Charles the Fifth for the Indian
races of America. "The Christian religion," he said, "is equal in its
operation, and is accommodated to every nation on the globe. _It robs no
one of his freedom, violates none of his inherent rights, on the ground
that he is a slave by nature, as pretended_; and it well becomes your
Majesty _to banish_ so monstrous an oppression from your kingdoms in the
beginning of your reign, that the Almighty may make it long and
glorious."--Prescott's _Conquest of Mexico_, vol. i. p 379.]

It is true, most true, that slavery stands on force, and not on right.
It is one of the hideous results of war, or of that barbarism in which
savage war plays a conspicuous part. To the victor, it was supposed,
belonged the lives of his captives; and, by consequence, he might bind
them in perpetual servitude. This principle, which has been the
foundation of slavery in all ages, is adapted only to the rudest
conditions of society, and is wholly inconsistent with a period of real
refinement, humanity, and justice. It is sad to confess that it was
recognized by Greece; but the civilization of this famed land, though
brilliant to the external view as the immortal sculptures of the
Parthenon, was, like that stately temple, dark and cheerless within.


Slavery extended, with new rigors, under the military dominion of Rome.
The spirit of freedom which animated the republic was of that selfish
and intolerant character which accumulated privileges upon the Roman
citizen, while it heeded little the rights of others. But, unlike the
Greeks, the Romans admitted in theory that all men were originally free
by the law of nature; and they ascribed the power of masters over slaves
not to any alleged diversities in the races of men, but to the will of
society.[13] The constant triumphs of their arms were signalized by
reducing to captivity large crowds of the subjugated people. Paulus
Emilius returned from Macedonia with an uncounted train of slaves,
composed of persons in every department of life; and at the camp of
Lucullus, in Pontus, slaves were sold for four drachmæ, or seventy-two
cents, a head. Terence and Phædrus, Roman slaves, have, however, taught
us that genius is not always quenched, even by a degrading captivity;
while the writings of Cato the Censor, one of the most virtuous
slaveholders in history, show the hardening influence of a system which
treats human beings as cattle. "Let the husbandman," says Cato, "sell
his old oxen, his sickly cattle, his sickly sheep, his wool, his hides,
his old wagon, his old implements, _his old slave, and his diseased
slave_; and if any thing else remains, let him sell it. _He should be a
seller, rather than a buyer._"[14]

[Footnote 13: Institute i. tit. 2.]

[Footnote 14: Re Rustica, § 2.]

The cruelty and inhumanity which flourished in the republic, professing
freedom, found a natural home under the emperors--the high priests of
despotism. Wealth increased, and with it the multitude of slaves. Some
masters are said to have owned as many as ten thousand, while
extravagant prices were often paid, according to the fancy or caprice of
the purchaser. Martial mentions a handsome youth who cost as much as
four hundred sesteria, or sixteen thousand dollars.[15]

[Footnote 15: Ep. iii. 62.]


It is easy to believe that slavery, which prevailed so largely in Greece
and Rome, must have existed in Africa. Here, indeed, it found a peculiar
home. If we trace the progress of this unfortunate continent, from those
distant days of fable, when Jupiter

             did not disdain to grace
    The feast of Æthiopia's blameless race,[16]

the merchandise in slaves will be found to have contributed to the
abolition of two hateful customs, once universal in Africa--the eating
of captives, and their sacrifice to idols. Thus, in the march of
civilization, even the barbarism of slavery is an important stage of
Human Progress. It is a point in the ascending scale from cannibalism.

[Footnote 16: Iliad, book i.]

In the early periods of modern Europe, slavery was a general custom,
which yielded only gradually to the humane influences of Christianity.
It prevailed in all the countries of which we have any record.
Fair-haired Saxon slaves from distant England arrested the attention of
Pope Gregory in the markets of Rome, and were by him hailed as _angels_.
A law of so virtuous a king as Alfred ranks slaves with horses and oxen;
and the chronicles of William of Malmesbury show that, in our mother
country, there was once a cruel slave trade in whites. As we listen to
this story, we shall be grateful again to that civilization which
renders such outrages more and more impossible. "Directly opposite," he
says,[17] "to the Irish coast, there is a seaport called Bristol, the
inhabitants of which frequently sent into Ireland to sell those people
whom they had bought up throughout England. They exposed to sale maidens
in a state of pregnancy, with whom they made a sort of mock _marriage_.
There you might see with grief, fastened together by ropes, whole rows
of wretched beings of both sexes, of elegant forms, and in the very
bloom of youth,--a sight sufficient to excite pity even in
barbarians,--daily offered for sale to the first purchaser. Accursed
deed! infamous disgrace! that men, acting in a manner which brutal
instinct alone would have forbidden, should sell into slavery their
relations, nay, even their own offspring." From still another
chronicler[18] we learn that, when Ireland, in 1172, was afflicted with
public calamities, the people, but _chiefly the clergy, (præcipue
clericorum,)_ began to reproach themselves, as well they might,
believing that these evils were brought upon their country because,
_contrary to the right of Christian freedom_, they had bought as slaves
the English boys brought to them by the merchants; wherefore, it is
said, the English slaves were allowed to depart in freedom.

[Footnote 17: Book ii. chap. 20, Life of St. Wolston.]

[Footnote 18: Chronica Hiberniæ, or the Annals of Phil. Flatesbury in
the Cottonian Library, Domitian A. xviii. 10; quoted in Stephens on West
India Slavery, vol. i. p. 6]


As late as the thirteenth century, the custom prevailed on the continent
of Europe to treat all captives, taken in war, as slaves. To this,
poetry, as well as history, bears its testimony. Old Michael Drayton, in
his story of the Battle of Agincourt, says of the French,--

    For knots of cord to every town they send,
    The captived English that they caught to bind;
    _For to perpetual slavery they intend
    Those that alive they on the field should find._

And Othello, in recounting his perils, exposes this custom, when he

    Of being taken by the insolent foe,
    _And sold to slavery_; of my redemption thence.

It was also held lawful to enslave any infidel or person who did not
receive the Christian faith. The early common law of England doomed
heretics to the stake; the Catholic Inquisition did the same; and the
laws of Oleron, the maritime code of the middle ages, treated them "as
dogs," to be attacked and despoiled by all true believers. It appears
that Philip le Bel of France, the son of St. Louis, in 1296, presented
his brother Charles, Count of Valois, with a _Jew_, and that he paid
Pierre de Chambly three hundred livres for another _Jew_; as if Jews
were at the time chattels, to be given away, or bought.[19] And the
statutes of Florence, boastful of freedom, as late as 1415, expressly
allowed republican citizens to hold slaves who were not of the Christian
faith; _Qui non sunt Catholicæ fidei et Christianæ_.[20] And still
further, the comedies of Molière, _L'Étourdi_, _Le Sicilien_, _L'Avare_,
depicting Italian usages not remote from his own day, show that, at
Naples and Messina, even Christian women continued to be sold as slaves.

[Footnote 19: _Encyclopédie Méthodique_, (Jurisprudence,) Art.

[Footnote 20: Biot, _De l'Abolition de l'Esclavage Ancien en Occident_,
p. 440; a work crowned with a gold medal by the Institute of France, but
which will be read with some disappointment.]

This hasty sketch, which brings us down to the period when Algiers
became a terror to the Christian nations, renders it no longer
astonishing that the barbarous states of Barbary,--a part of Africa, the
great womb of slavery,--professing Mohammedanism, which not only
recognizes slavery, but expressly ordains "chains and collars" to
infidels,[21] should maintain the traffic in slaves, particularly in
Christians who denied the faith of the Prophet. In the duty of constant
war upon unbelievers, and in the assertion of a right to the services or
ransom of their captives, they followed the lessons of Christians

[Footnote 21: Koran, chap. 76.]


It is not difficult, then, to account for the origin of the cruel custom
now under consideration. Its _history_ forms our next topic.

II. The Barbary States, after the decline of the Arabian power, were
enveloped in darkness, rendered more palpable by the increasing light
among the Christian nations. As we behold them in the fifteenth century,
in the twilight of European civilization, they appear to be little more
than scattered bands of robbers and pirates,--"the land rats and water
rats" of Shylock,--leading the lives of Ishmaelites. Algiers is
described by an early writer as "a den of sturdy thieves, formed into a
body, by which, after a tumultuary sort, they govern;"[22] and by still
another writer, contemporary with the monstrosity which he exposes, as
"the theatre of all cruelty and sanctuarie of iniquitie, holding
captive, in miserable servitude, one hundred and twenty thousand
Christians, almost all subjects of the King of Spaine."[23] Their habit
of enslaving prisoners, taken in war and in piratical depredations, at
last aroused against these states the sacred animosities of Christendom.
Ferdinand the Catholic, after the conquest of Granada, and while the
boundless discoveries of Columbus, giving to Castile and Aragon a new
world, still occupied his mind, found time to direct an expedition into
Africa, under the military command of that great ecclesiastic, Cardinal
Ximenes. It is recorded that this valiant soldier of the church, on
effecting the conquest of Oran, in 1509, had the inexpressible
satisfaction of liberating upwards of three hundred Christian

[Footnote 22: Harleian Miscellany, vol. v. p. 522--_A Discourse
concerning Tangiers._]

[Footnote 23: Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. p. 1565.]

[Footnote 24: Prescott's History of Ferdinand and Isabella, vol. iii. p.
308; Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. p. 813.]


The progress of the Spanish arms induced the government of Algiers to
invoke assistance from abroad. At this time, two brothers, Horuc and
Hayradin, the sons of a potter in the Island of Lesbos, had become
famous as corsairs. In an age when the sword of the adventurer often
carved a higher fortune than could be earned by lawful exertion, they
were dreaded for their abilities, their hardihood, and their power. To
them Algiers turned for aid. The corsairs left the sea to sway the land;
or rather, with amphibious robbery, they took possession of Algiers and
Tunis, while they continued to prey upon the sea. The name of
Barbarossa, by which they are known to Christians, is terrible in modern

[Footnote 25: Robertson's Charles the Fifth, book v.; Haedo, _Historia
de Argel, Epitome de los Reyes, de Argel_.]

With pirate ships they infested the seas, and spread their ravages along
the coasts of Spain and Italy, until Charles the Fifth was aroused to
undertake their overthrow. The various strength of his broad dominions
was rallied in this new crusade. "If the enthusiasm," says Sismondi,
"which armed the Christians at an earlier day, was nearly extinct,
another sentiment, more rational and legitimate, now united the vows of
Europe. The contest was no longer to reconquer the tomb of Christ, but
to defend the civilization, the liberty, the lives, of Christians."[26]
A stanch body of infantry from Germany, the veterans of Spain and Italy,
the flower of the Castilian nobility, the knights of Malta, with a fleet
of near five hundred vessels, contributed by Italy, Portugal, and even
distant Holland, under the command of Andrew Doria, the great sea
officer of the age,--the whole being under the immediate eye of the
Emperor himself, with the countenance and benediction of the Pope, and
composing one of the most complete armaments which the world had then
seen,--were directed upon Tunis. Barbarossa opposed them bravely, but
with unequal forces. While slowly yielding to attack from without, his
defeat was hastened by unexpected insurrection within. Confined in the
citadel were many Christian slaves, who, asserting the rights of
freedom, obtained a bloody emancipation, and turned its artillery
against their former masters. The place yielded to the Emperor, whose
soldiers soon surrendered themselves to the inhuman excesses of war. The
blood of thirty thousand innocent inhabitants reddened his victory.
Amidst these scenes of horror there was but one spectacle that afforded
him any satisfaction. Ten thousand Christian slaves met him, as he
entered the town, and falling on their knees, thanked him as their

[Footnote 26: Sismondi, _Histoire des Français_, tom. xvii. p. 102.]

[Footnote 27: Robertson's Charles the Fifth, book v.]

In the treaty of peace which ensued, it was expressly stipulated on the
part of Tunis, that all Christian slaves, of whatever nation, should be
set at liberty without ransom, and that no subject of the Emperor should
for the future be detained in slavery.[28]

[Footnote 28: Ibid.]


The apparent generosity of this undertaking, the magnificence with which
it was conducted, and the success with which it was crowned, drew to the
Emperor the homage of his age beyond any other event of his reign.
Twenty thousand slaves, freed by treaty, or by arms, diffused through
Europe the praise of his name. It is probable that, in this expedition,
the Emperor was governed by motives little higher than those of vulgar
ambition and fame; but the results with which it was crowned, in the
emancipation of so many of his fellow-Christians from cruel chains,
place him, with Cardinal Ximenes, among the earliest Abolitionists of
modern times.

This was in 1535. Only a few short years before, in 1517, he had granted
to a Flemish courtier the exclusive privilege of importing four thousand
blacks from Africa into the West Indies. It is said that Charles lived
long enough to repent what he had thus inconsiderately done.[29] Certain
it is, no single concession, recorded in history, of king or emperor,
has produced such disastrous far-reaching consequences. The Fleming sold
his privilege to a company of Genoese merchants, who organized a
_systematic_ traffic in slaves between Africa and America. Thus, while
levying a mighty force to check the piracies of Barbarossa, and to
procure the abolition of Christian slavery in Tunis, the Emperor, with a
wretched inconsistency, laid the corner stone of a new system of slavery
in America, in comparison with which the enormity that he sought to
suppress was trivial and fugitive.

[Footnote 29: Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade,
vol. i. p. 38.]

Elated by the conquest of Tunis, filled also with the ambition of
subduing all the Barbary States, and of extirpating the custom of
Christian slavery, the Emperor, in 1541, directed an expedition of
singular grandeur against Algiers. The Pope again joined his influence
to the martial array. But nature proved stronger than the Pope and
Emperor. Within sight of Algiers, a sudden storm shattered his proud
fleet, and he was obliged to return to Spain, discomfited, bearing none
of those trophies of emancipation by which his former expedition had
been crowned.[30]

[Footnote 30: Robertson's Charles the Fifth, book vi.; Harleian
Miscellany, vol. iv. p. 504;--A lamentable and piteous Treatise, very
necessarye for euerye Christen manne to reade, [or the Expedition of
Charles the Fifth,] truly and dylygently translated out of Latyn into
Frenche, and out of Frenche into English, 1542.]


The power of the Barbary States was now at its height. Their corsairs
became the scourge of Christendom, while their much-dreaded system of
slavery assumed a front of new terrors. Their ravages were not confined
to the Mediterranean. They penetrated the ocean, and pressed even to the
Straits of Dover and St. George's Channel. From the chalky cliffs of
England, and even from the distant western coasts of Ireland,
unsuspecting inhabitants were swept into cruel captivity.[31] The
English government was aroused to efforts to check these atrocities. In
1620, a fleet of eighteen ships, under the command of Sir Robert Mansel,
Vice Admiral of England, was despatched against Algiers. It returned
without being able, in the language of the times, "to destroy those
hellish pirates," though it obtained the liberation of forty "poor
captives, which they pretended was all they had in the towne." "The
efforts of the English fleet were aided," says Purchas, "by a Christian
captive, which did swim from the towne to the ships."[32] It is not in
this respect only that this expedition recalls that of Charles the
Fifth, which received important assistance from rebel slaves; we also
observe a similar deplorable inconsistency of conduct in the government
which directed it. It was in the year 1620,--dear to all the descendants
of the Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock as an epoch of freedom,--while an
English fleet was seeking the emancipation of Englishmen held in bondage
by Algiers, that African slaves were first introduced into the English
colonies of North America--thus beginning that dreadful system, whose
long catalogue of humiliation and woes is not yet complete.[33]

[Footnote 31: Guizot's History of the English Revolution, vol. i. p. 69,
book ii.; Strafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. i p. 68. Sir George
Radcliffe, the friend and biographer of the Earl, boasts that the latter
"secured the seas from piracies, so as only one ship was lost at his
first coming, [as Lord Lieutenant to Ireland,] and no more all his time;
whereof every year before, not only several ships and goods were lost by
robbery at sea, but also Turkish men-of-war usually landed, and _took
prey of men to be made slaves_."--Ibid. vol ii. p. 434.]

[Footnote 32: "Purchas's Pilgrims, pp. 885, 886; Southey's Naval History
of England, vol. v. pp. 60-63. There was a publication especially
relating to this expedition, entitled Algiers Voyage, in a Journall or
briefe Repertory of all Occurrents hapning in the Fleet of Ships sent
out by the Kinge his most excellent Majestie, as well against the
Pirates of Algiers as others. London. 1621. 4to.]

[Footnote 33: Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. i. p. 187.]


The expedition against Algiers was followed, in 1637, by another, under
the command of Captain Rainsborough, against Sallee, in Morocco. At his
approach, the Moors desperately transferred a thousand captives, British
subjects, to Tunis and Algiers. "Some Christians, that were slaves
ashore, stole away out of the towne, and came swimming aboard."[34]
Intestine feud also aided the fleet, and the cause of emancipation
speedily triumphed. Two hundred and ninety British captives were
surrendered; and a promise was extorted from the government of Sallee to
redeem the wretched captives, sold away to Tunis and Algiers. An
ambassador from the King of Morocco shortly afterwards visited England,
and, on his way through the streets of London, to his audience at court,
was attended "by four Barbary horses led along in rich caparisons, and
richer saddles, with bridles set with stones; also some hawks; _many of
the captives whom he brought over going along afoot clad in white_."[35]

[Footnote 34: Osborne's Voyages--Journal of the Sallee Fleet, vol. ii.
p. 493. See also Mrs. Macaulay's History of England, vol. ii. chap. 4,
p. 219.]

[Footnote 35: Strafford's Letter and Despatches, vol. ii. pp. 86, 116,

The importance attached to this achievement may be inferred from the
singular joy with which it was hailed in England. Though on a limited
scale, it had been a _war of liberation_. The poet, the ecclesiastic,
and the statesman now joined in congratulations on its results. It
inspired the muse of Waller to a poem called _The Taking of Sallee_, in
which the submission of the slaveholding enemy is thus described:--

    Hither he sends the chief among his peers,
    Who in his bark proportioned presents bears,
    To the renowned for piety and force
    _Poor captives manumised_, and matchless horse.

It satisfied Laud, and filled with exultation the dark mind of
Strafford. "Sallee, the town, is taken," said the Archbishop in a letter
to the latter, then in Ireland, "and all the captives at Sallee and
Morocco delivered; _as many, our merchants say, as, according to the
price of the markets, come to ten thousand pounds, at least_."[36]
Strafford saw in the popularity of this triumph a fresh opportunity to
commend the tyrannical designs of his master, Charles the First. "This
action of Sallee," he wrote in reply to the Archbishop, "I assure you is
full of honor, and should, methinks, _help much towards the ready
cheerful payment of the shipping moneys_."[37]

[Footnote 36: Strafford's Letters and Despatches, vol. ii. p. 131.]

[Footnote 37: Ibid. p. 138.]


The coasts of England were now protected; but her subjects at sea
continued the prey of Algerine corsairs, who, according to the historian
Carte,[38] now "carried their English captives to France, _drove them in
chains overland to Marseilles, to ship them thence with greater safety
for slaves to Algiers_." The increasing troubles, which distracted and
finally cut short the reign of Charles the First, could not divert
attention from the sorrows of Englishmen, victims to Mohammedan slave
drivers. At the height of the struggles between the King and Parliament,
an earnest voice was raised in behalf of these fellow-Christians in
bonds.[39] Waller, who was orator as well as poet, exclaimed in
Parliament, "By the many petitions which we receive from the wives of
those miserable captives at Algiers, (being between four and five
thousand of our countrymen,) it does too evidently appear, that to make
us slaves at home is not the way to keep us from being made slaves
abroad." Publications pleading their cause, bearing date in 1640, 1642,
and 1647, are yet extant.[40] The overthrow of an oppression so justly
odious formed a worthy object for the imperial energies of Cromwell; and
in 1655,--when, amidst the amazement of Europe, the English sovereignty
had already settled upon his Atlantean shoulders,--he directed into the
Mediterranean a navy of thirty ships, under the command of Admiral
Blake. This was the most powerful English force which had sailed into
that sea since the Crusades.[41] Its success was complete. "General
Blake," said one of the foreign agents of government, "has ratifyed the
articles of peace at Argier, and included therein Scotch, Irish,
Jarnsey, and Garnsey-men, and all others the Protector's subjects. He
has lykewys redeemed from thence al such as wer captives ther. _Several
Dutch captives swam aboard the fleet, and so escape theyr
captivity._"[42] Tunis, as well as Algiers, was humbled; all British
captives were set at liberty; and the Protector, in his remarkable
speech at the opening of Parliament in the next year, announced peace
with the "profane" nations in that region.[43]

[Footnote 38: Carte's History of England, vol. iv. book xxii. p. 231.]

[Footnote 39: Waller's Works, p. 271.]

[Footnote 40: Compassion towards Captives, urged in Three Sermons, on
Heb. xiii. 3, by Charles Fitz-Geoffrey, 1642. Libertas; or Relief to the
English Captives in Algiers, by Henry Robinson, London, 1647. Letters
relating to the Redemption of the Captive in Algiers, at Tunis, by
Edward Cason Laud, 1647. A Relation of Seven Years' Slavery under the
Turks of Algiers, suffered by an English Captive Merchant, with a
Description of the Sufferings of the Miserable Captives under that
Mercilest Tyranny, by Francis Knight, London, 1640. The last publication
is preserved in the Collection of Voyages and Travels by Osborne, vol.
ii. pp. 465-489.]

[Footnote 41: Hume says, (vol. vii. p. 529, chap, lxi.,) "No English
fleet, except during the Crusades, _had ever before sailed in those
seas_." He forgot, or was not aware of the expedition of Sir John Mansel
already mentioned, (_ante_, p. 224,) which was elaborately debated in
the Privy Council as early as 1617, three years before it was finally
undertaken, and which was the subject of a special work. See Southey's
Naval History of England, vol. v. pp. 149-157.]

[Footnote 42: Thurloe's State Papers, vol. iii. p. 527.]

[Footnote 43: 2 Carlyle's Letters and Speeches of Cromwell, vol. ii. p.
235, part ix. speech v.]


To my mind no single circumstance gives a higher impression of the
vigilance with which the Protector guarded his subjects than this
effort, to which Waller, with the "smooth" line for which he is
memorable, aptly alludes, as

          _telling dreadful news
    To all that piracy and rapine use_.

His vigorous sway was followed by the effeminate tyranny of Charles the
Second, whose restoration was inaugurated by an unsuccessful expedition
against Algiers under Lord Sandwich. This was soon followed by another,
with a more favorable result, under Admiral Lawson.[44] By a treaty
bearing date May 3d, 1662, the piratical government expressly
stipulated, "that all subjects of the King of Great Britain, now slaves
in Algiers, or any of the territories thereof, be set at liberty, and
released, upon paying the price they were first sold for in the market;
and for the time to come no subjects of his Majesty shall be bought or
sold, or made slaves of, in Algiers or its territories."[45] Other
expeditions ensued, and other treaties in 1664, 1672, 1682, and
1686--showing, by their constant recurrence and iteration, the little
impression produced upon those barbarians.[46] Insensible to justice and
freedom, they naturally held in slight regard the obligations of
fidelity to any stipulations in restraint of robbery and slaveholding.

[Footnote 44: Rapin's History of England, vol. ii. pp. 858, 864.]

[Footnote 45: _Recueil des Traitez de Paix_, tom. iv. p. 43.]

[Footnote 46: Ibid. pp. 307, 476, 703, 756.]

During a long succession of years, complaints of the sufferings of
English captives continued to be made. An earnest spirit, in 1748, found
expression in these words:--

    O, how can Britain's sons regardless hear
    The prayers, sighs, groans (immortal infamy!)
    Of fellow-Britons, with oppression sunk,
    In bitterness of soul demanding aid,
    Calling on Britain, their dear native land,
    The land of liberty![47]

But during all this time, the slavery of blacks, transported to the
colonies under the British flag, still continued.

[Footnote 47: The Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xviii. p. 531.]

Meanwhile, France had plied Algiers with embassies and bombardments. In
1635 three hundred and forty-seven Frenchmen were captives there.
Monsieur de Sampson was despatched on an unsuccessful mission, to
procure their liberation. They were offered to him "for the price they
were sold for in the market;" but this he refused to pay.[48] Next came,
in 1637, Monsieur de Mantel, who was called "that noble captain, and
glory of the French nation," "with fifteen of his king's ships, and a
commission to enfranchise the French slaves." But he also returned,
leaving his countrymen still in captivity.[49] Treaties followed at a
later day, which were hastily concluded, and abruptly broken; till at
last Louis the Fourteenth did for France what Cromwell had done for
England. In 1684, Algiers, being twice bombarded[50] by his command,
sent deputies to sue for peace, and to surrender all her Christian
slaves. Tunis and Tripoli made the same submission. Voltaire, with his
accustomed point, declares that, by this transaction, the French became
respected on the coast of Africa, where they had before been known only
as slaves.[51]

[Footnote 48: Osborne's Voyages, vol. ii. p. 468; Relation of Seven
Years' Slavery in Algiers.]

[Footnote 49: Ibid. p. 470.]

[Footnote 50: In the melancholy history of war, this is remarked as the
earliest instance of the _bombardment_ of a town. Sismondi, who never
fails to regard the past in the light of humanity, says, that "Louis the
Fourteenth was the first to put in practice the atrocious method, newly
invented, of bombarding towns,--of burning them, not to take them, but
to destroy them,--_of attacking, not fortifications, but private
houses,--not soldiers, but peaceable inhabitants, women and children,
and of confounding thousands of private crimes, each one of which would
cause horror, in one great public crime, one great disaster, which he
regarded only as one of the catastrophes of war_." Sismondi, _Histoire
des Français_, tom. xxv. p. 452. How much of this is justly applicable
to the recent murder of women and children by the forces of the United
States at Vera Cruz! Algiers was bombarded in the cause of _freedom_;
Vera Cruz to extend _slavery_!]

[Footnote 51: _Siècle de Louis XIV._ chap. 14.]

An incident is mentioned by the historian, which unhappily shows how
little the French at that time, even while engaged in securing the
emancipation of their own countrymen, had at heart the cause of general
freedom. As an officer of the triumphant fleet received the Christian
slaves who were brought to him and liberated, he observed among them
many English, who, in the empty pride of nationality, maintained that
they were set at liberty out of regard to the King of England. The
Frenchman at once summoned the Algerines, and, returning the foolish
captives into their hands, said, "These people pretend that they have
been delivered in the name of their monarch; mine does not offer them
his protection. I return them to you. It is for you to show what you owe
to the King of England." The Englishmen were again hurried to prolonged
slavery. The power of Charles the Second was impotent in their
behalf--as was the sense of justice and humanity in the French officer
or in the Algerine government.

Time would fail, even if materials were at hand, to develop the course
of other efforts by France against the Barbary States. Nor can I dwell
upon the determined conduct of Holland, one of whose greatest naval
commanders, Admiral de Ruyter, in 1661, enforced at Algiers the
emancipation of several hundred Christian slaves.[52] The inconsistency,
which we have so often remarked, occurs also in the conduct of France
and Holland. Both these countries, while using their best endeavors for
the freedom of their white people, were cruelly engaged in selling
blacks into distant American slavery; as if every word of reprobation,
which they fastened upon the piratical, slaveholding Algerines, did not
return in eternal judgment against themselves.

[Footnote 52: Gentleman's Magazine, vol. xviii. p. 441.]


Thus far I have chiefly followed the history of military expeditions.
War has been our melancholy burden. But peaceful measures were also
employed to procure the _redemption_ of slaves; and money sometimes
accomplished what was vainly attempted by the sword. In furtherance of
this object, missions were often sent by the European governments. These
sometimes had a formal diplomatic organization; sometimes they consisted
of fathers of the church, who held it a sacred office, to which they
were especially called, to open the prison doors, and let the captives
go free.[53] It was through the intervention of the superiors of the
Order of the Holy Trinity, who were despatched to Algiers by Philip the
Second of Spain, that Cervantes obtained his freedom by ransom, in
1579.[54] Expeditions of commerce often served to promote similar
designs of charity; and the English government, forgetting or
distrusting all their sleeping thunder, sometimes condescended to barter
articles of merchandise for the liberty of their subjects.[55]

[Footnote 53: To the relations of these missions we are indebted for
works of interest on the Barbary States, some of which I am able to
mention. _Busnot, Histoire du Règne de Mouley Ishmael, à Rouen, 1714._
This is by a father of the Holy Trinity. _Jean de la Faye, Relation, en
Forme de Journal, du Voyage pour la Rédemption des Captifs, à Paris,
1725._ _Voyage to Barbary for the Redemption of Captives in 1720, by the
Mathurin-Trinitarian Fathers, London, 1735._ The last is a translation
from the French. _Braithwaite's History of the Revolutions of the Empire
of Morocco, London, 1729._ This contains a journal of the mission of
John Russel, Esq., from the English government to Morocco, to obtain the
liberation of slaves. The expedition was thoroughly equipped. "The
Moors," says the author, "find plenty of every thing but drink, but for
that the English generally take care of themselves; for, besides chairs,
tables, knives, forks, plates, table linen, &c., we had two or three
mules, loaded with wine, brandy, sugar, and utensils for punch."--P.

[Footnote 54: Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, p. 43.]

[Footnote 55: "The following goods, designed as a present from his
Majesty to the Dey of Algiers, to redeem near one hundred English
captives lately taken, were entered at the customhouse, viz.: 20 pieces
of broadcloth, 2 pieces of brocade, 2 pieces of silver tabby, 1 piece of
green damask, 8 pieces of Holland, 16 pieces of cambric, a gold
repeating watch, 4 silver do., 20 pounds of tea, 300 of loaf sugar, 5
fuzees, 5 pair of pistols, an escritoire, 2 clocks, and a box of
toys."--_Gent. Mag._, iv. p. 104, (1734.)]


Private efforts often secured the freedom of slaves. Friends at home
naturally exerted themselves in their behalf; and many families were
straitened by generous contributions to this sacred purpose. The widowed
mother of Cervantes sacrificed all the pittance that remained to her,
including the dowry of her daughters, to aid in the emancipation of her
son. An Englishman, of whose doleful captivity there is a record in the
memoirs of his son, obtained redemption through the earnest efforts of
his wife at home. "She resolved," says the story, "to use all the means
that lay in her power for his freedom, though she left nothing for
herself and children to subsist upon. She was forced to put to sale, as
she did, some plate, gold rings and bracelets, and some part of her
household goods to make up his ransom, which came to about £150
sterling."[56] In 1642, four French brothers were ransomed at the price
of six thousand dollars. At this same period, the sum exacted for the
poorest Spaniards was "a thousand shillings;" while Genoese, "if under
twenty-two years of age, were freed for a hundred pounds sterling."[57]
These charitable endeavors were aided by the cooperation of benevolent
persons. George Fox interceded in behalf of several Quakers, slaves at
Algiers, writing "a book to the Grand Sultan and the King at Algiers,
wherein he laid before them their indecent behavior and unreasonable
dealings, showing them from their Alcoran that this displeased God, and
that Mohammed had given them other directions." Some time elapsed before
an opportunity was found to redeem them; "but, in the mean while, they
so faithfully served their masters, that they were suffered to go loose
through the town, without being chained or fettered."[58]

[Footnote 56: MS. Memoirs of Abraham Brown.]

[Footnote 57: Osborne's Voyages, vol. ii. p. 489; Relation of Seven
Years' Slavery in Algiers.]

[Footnote 58: Sewell's History of the Quakers, p. 397.]


As early as the thirteenth century, under the sanction of Pope Innocent
the Third, an important association was organized to promote the
emancipation of Christian slaves. This was known as the _Society of the
Fathers of Redemption_.[59] During many successive generations its
blessed labors were continued, amidst the praise and sympathy of
generous men. History, undertaking to recount its origin, and filled
with a grateful sense of its extraordinary merits, attributed it to the
suggestion of an angel in the sky, clothed in resplendent light, holding
a Christian captive in his right hand, and a Moor in the left. The pious
Spaniard, who narrates the marvel, earnestly declares that this
institution of beneficence was the work, not of men, but of the great
God alone; and he dwells, with more than the warmth of narrative, on the
glory, filling the lives of its associates, as surpassing far that of a
Roman triumph; for they share the name as well as the labors of the
Redeemer of the world, to whose spirit they are the heirs, and to whose
works they are the successors. "Lucullus," he says, "affirmed that it
were better to liberate a single Roman from the hands of the enemy than
to gain all their wealth; but how much greater the gain, more excellent
the glory, and more than human is it to redeem a captive! For whosoever
redeems him not only liberates him from one death, but from death in a
thousand ways, and those ever present, and also from a thousand
afflictions, a thousand miseries, a thousand torments and fearful
travails, more cruel than death itself."[60] The genius of Cervantes has
left a record of his gratitude to this Anti-Slavery Society[61]--the
harbinger of others whose mission is not yet finished. Throughout Spain
annual contributions for its sacred objects continued to be taken for
many years. Nor in Spain only did it awaken sympathy. In Italy and
France also it successfully labored; and as late as 1748, inspired by a
similar catholic spirit, if not by its example, a proposition appeared
in England "to establish a _society_ to carry on the truly charitable
design of emancipating" sixty-four Englishmen, slaves in Morocco.[62]

[Footnote 59: Biot, _De l'Abolition de l'Esclavage Ancien_, p. 437.]

[Footnote 60: Haedo, _Historia de Argel_, pp. 142-144; _Dialogo I. de la

[Footnote 61: Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, p. 50. See his story of
_Española Inglesa_.]

[Footnote 62: Gentleman's Mag. xviii. p. 413.]

War and ransom were not the only agents of emancipation. Even if history
were silent, it would be impossible to suppose that the slaves of
African Barbary endured their lot without struggles for freedom.

    Since the first moment they put on my chains,
    I've thought on nothing but the weight of them,
    And how to throw them off.

These are the words of a slave in the play;[63] but they express the
natural inborn sentiments of all who have intelligence sufficient to
appreciate the great boon of freedom. "Thanks be to God," says the
captive in Don Quixote, "for the great mercies bestowed upon me; for, in
my opinion, there is no happiness on earth equal to that of liberty
regained."[64] And plain Thomas Phelps--once a slave at Machiness, in
Morocco, whence, in 1685, he fortunately escaped--in the narrative of
his adventures and sufferings, breaks forth in a similar strain. "Since
my escape," he says, "from captivity, and worse than Egyptian bondage, I
have, methinks, enjoyed a happiness with which my former life was never
acquainted; now that, after a storm and terrible tempest, I have, by
miracle, put into a safe and quiet harbor,--after a most miserable
slavery to the most unreasonable and barbarous of men, now that I enjoy
the immunities and freedom of my native country and the privileges of a
subject of England, although my circumstances otherwise are but
indifferent, yet I find I am affected with extraordinary emotions and
singular transports of joy; now I know what liberty is, and can put a
value and make a just estimate of that happiness which before I never
well understood. Health can be but slightly esteemed by him who never
was acquainted with pain or sickness; and liberty and freedom are the
happiness only valuable by a reflection on captivity and slavery."[65]

[Footnote 63: Oronooko, act iii. sc. i. It is not strange that the
anti-slavery character of this play rendered it an unpopular performance
at Liverpool, while the prosperous merchants there were concerned in the
slave trade.]

[Footnote 64: Don Quixote, part i. book iv. chap. 12.]

[Footnote 65: Osborne's Voyages, vol. ii. p. 500.]

The history of Algiers abounds in well-authenticated examples of
_conspiracy against the government_ by Christian slaves. So strong was
the passion for freedom! In 1531 and 1559, two separate plans were
matured, which promised for a while entire success. The slaves were
numerous; keys to open the prisons had been forged, and arms supplied;
but, by the treason of one of their number, the plot was betrayed to the
Dey, who sternly doomed the conspirators to the bastinado and the stake.
Cervantes, during his captivity, nothing daunted by these disappointed
efforts, and the terrible vengeance which awaited them, conceived the
plan of a general insurrection of the Christian slaves, to secure their
freedom by the overthrow of the Algerine power, and the surrender of the
city to the Spanish crown. This was in the spirit of that sentiment, to
which he gives utterance in his writings, that "for liberty we ought to
risk life itself, slavery being the greatest evil that can fall to the
lot of man."[66] As late as 1763, there was a similar insurrection or
conspiracy. "Last month," says a journal of high authority,[67] "the
Christian slaves at Algiers, to the number of four thousand, rose and
killed their guards, and massacred all who came in their way; but after
some hours' carnage, during which the streets ran with blood, peace was

[Footnote 66: Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, pp. 32, 310, 311. In the same
spirit Thomas Phelps says: "I looked upon my condition as desperate; my
forlorn and languishing state of life, without any hope of redemption,
appeared far worse than the terrors of a most cruel death."--Osborne's
Voyages, vol. ii. p. 504.]

[Footnote 67: British Annual Register, vol. vi. p. 60.]

But the struggles for freedom could not always assume the shape of
conspiracies against the government. They were often _efforts to
escape_, sometimes in numbers, and sometimes singly. The captivity of
Cervantes was filled with such, in which, though constantly balked, he
persevered with determined courage and skill. On one occasion, he
attempted to escape by land to Oran, a Spanish settlement on the coast,
but was deserted by his guide, and compelled to return.[68] Another
endeavor was favored by a number of his own countrymen, hovering on the
coast in a vessel from Majorca, who did not think it wrong to aid in the
liberation of slaves! Another was promoted by Christian merchants at
Algiers, through whose agency a vessel was actually purchased for this
purpose.[69] And still another was supposed to be aided by a Spanish
ecclesiastic, Father Olivar, who, being at Algiers to procure the legal
emancipation of slaves, could not resist the temptation to lend a
generous assistance to the struggles of his fellow-Christians in bonds.
If he were sufficiently courageous and devoted to do this, he paid the
bitter penalty which similar services to freedom have found elsewhere,
and in another age. He was seized by the Dey, and thrown into chains;
for it was regarded by the Algerine government as a high offence to
further in any way the escape of a slave.[70]

[Footnote 68: El Trato de Argel.]

[Footnote 69: Roscoe's Life of Cervantes, pp. 31, 308, 309. I refer to
Roscoe as the popular authority. His work appears to be little more than
a compilation from Navarrete and Sismondi.]

[Footnote 70: Ibid. p. 33. See also Haedo, _Historia de Argel_, p. 185.]


Endeavors for freedom are animating; nor can any honest nature hear of
them without a throb of sympathy. As we dwell on the painful narrative
of the unequal contest between tyrannical power and the crushed captive
or slave, we resolutely enter the lists on the side of freedom; and as
we behold the contest waged by a few individuals, or, perhaps, by one
alone, our sympathy is given to his weakness as well as to his cause. To
him we send the unfaltering succor of our good wishes. For him we invoke
vigor of arm to defend, and fleetness of foot to escape. The enactments
of human laws are vain to restrain the warm tides of the heart. We pause
with rapture on those historic scenes, in which freedom has been
attempted or preserved through the magnanimous self-sacrifice of
friendship or Christian aid. With palpitating bosom we follow the
midnight flight of Mary of Scotland from the custody of her stern
jailers; we accompany the escape of Grotius from prison in Holland, so
adroitly promoted by his wife; we join with the flight of Lavalette in
France, aided also by his wife; and we offer our admiration and
gratitude to Huger and Bollman, who, unawed by the arbitrary ordinances
of Austria, strove heroically, though vainly, to rescue Lafayette from
the dungeons of Olmutz. The laws of Algiers--which sanctioned a cruel
slavery, and doomed to condign penalties all endeavors for freedom, and
all countenance of such endeavors--can no longer prevent our homage to
Cervantes, not less gallant than renowned, who strove so constantly and
earnestly to escape his chains; nor our homage to those Christians also
who did not fear to aid him, and to the good ecclesiastic who suffered
in his cause.

The story of the efforts to escape from slavery in the Barbary States,
so far as they can be traced, are full of interest. The following is in
the exact words of an early writer:--

  "One John Fox, an expert mariner, and a good, approved, and
  sufficient gunner, was (in the raigne of Queene Elizabeth)
  taken by the Turkes, and kept eighteen yeeres in most miserable
  bondage and slavery; at the end of which time, he espied his
  opportunity (and God assisting him withall) that hee slew his
  keeper, and fled to the sea's side, where he found a gally with
  one hundred and fifty captive Christians, which hee speedily
  waying their anchor, set saile, and fell to work like men, and
  safely arrived in Spaone; by which meanes he freed himselfe and
  a number of poor soules from long and intolerable servitude;
  after which, the said John Fox came into England, _and the
  Queene (being rightly informed of his brave exploit) did
  graciously entertaine him for her servant, and allowed him a
  yeerly pension_."[71]

[Footnote 71: Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. p. 888.]


There is also, in the same early source, a quaint description of what
occurred to a ship from Bristol, captured, in 1621, by an Algerine
corsair. The Englishmen were all taken out except four youths, over whom
the Turks, as these barbarians were often called by early writers, put
thirteen of their own men to conduct the ship as a prize to Algiers; and
one of the pirates, a strong, able, stern, and resolute person, was
appointed captain. "These four poor youths," so the story proceeds,
"being thus fallen into the hands of merciless infidels, began to study
and complot all the means they could for the obtayning of their freedom.
They considered the lamentable and miserable estates that they were like
to be in, as to be debarred forever from seeing their friends and
country, to be chained, beaten, made slaves, and to eat the bread of
affliction in the galleys, all the remainder of their unfortunate lives,
and, which was worst of all, never to be partakers of the heavenly word
and sacraments. Thus, being quite hopeless, and, for any thing they
knew, forever helpless, they sailed five days and nights under the
command of the pirates, when, on the fifth night, God, in his great
mercy, showed them a means for their wished-for escape." A sudden wind
arose, when, the captain coming to help take in the mainsail, two of the
English youths "suddenly took him by the breech and threw him overboard;
but, by fortune, he fell into the bunt of the sail, where, quickly
catching hold of a rope, he, being a very strong man, had almost gotten
into the ship again; which John Cook perceiving, leaped speedily to the
pump, and took off the pump brake, or handle, and cast it to William
Long, bidding him knock him down, which he was not long in doing, but,
lifting up the wooden weapon, he gave him such a palt on the pate, as
made his braines forsake the possession of his head, with which his body
fell into the sea." The corsair slave dealers were overpowered. The four
English youths drove them "from place to place in the ship, and having
coursed them from poop to the forecastle, they there valiantly killed
two of them, and gave another a dangerous wound or two, who, to escape
the further fury of their swords, leaped suddenly overboard to go seek
his captain." The other nine Turks ran between decks, where they were
securely fastened. The English now directed their course to St. Lucas,
in Spain, and "in short time, by God's ayde, happily and safely arrived
at the said port, _where they sold the nine Turks for galley slaves, for
a good summe of money, and as I thinke, a great deal more than they were
worth_."[72] "He that shall attribute such things as these," says the
ancient historian, grateful for this triumph of freedom, "to the arm of
flesh and blood, is forgetful, ungrateful, and, in a manner,

[Footnote 72: Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. pp. 882-883.]


From the same authority I draw another narrative of singular success in
achieving freedom. Several Englishmen, being captured and carried into
Algiers, were sold as slaves. These are the words of one of their
number: "_We were hurried like dogs into the market, where, as men sell
hacknies in England, we were tossed up and down to see who would give
most for us; and although we had heavy hearts, and looked with sad
countenances, yet many came to behold us, sometimes taking us by the
hand, sometimes turning us round about, sometimes feeling our brawny and
naked armes, and so beholding our prices written in our breasts, they
bargained for us accordingly, and at last we were all sold._" Shortly
afterwards several were put on board an Algerine corsair to serve as
slaves. One of them, John Rawlins, who resembled Cervantes in the
hardihood of his exertions for freedom,--as, like him, he had lost the
use of an arm,--arranged a rising or insurrection on board. "O hellish
slavery," he said, "to be thus subject to dogs! O God! strengthen my
heart and hand, and something shall be done to ease us of these
mischiefs, and deliver us from these cruel Mohammedan dogs. What can be
worse? I will either attempt my deliverance at one time or another, or
perish in the enterprise." An auspicious moment was seized; and eight
English slaves and one French, with the assistance of four Hollanders,
freemen, succeeded, after a bloody contest, in overpowering fifty-two
Turks. "When all was done," the story proceeds, "and the ship cleared of
the dead bodies, Rawlins assembled his men together, and with one
consent gave the praise unto God, using the accustomed service on
shipboard, and, for want of books, lifted up their voices to God, as he
put into their hearts or renewed their memories; then did they sing a
psalm, and, last of all, embraced one another for playing the men in
such a deliverance, whereby our fear was turned into joy, and trembling
hearts exhilarated that we had escaped such inevitable dangers, and
especially the slavery and terror of bondage worse than death itself.
The same night we washed our ship, put every thing in as good order as
we could, repaired the broken quarter, set up the biticle, and bore up
the helme for England, where, by God's grace and good guiding, we
arrived at Plimouth, February 17th, 1622."[73]

[Footnote 73: Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. pp. 889-896.]


In 1685, Thomas Phelps and Edward Baxter, Englishmen, accomplished their
escape from captivity in Machiness, in Morocco. One of them had made a
previous unsuccessful attempt, which drew upon him the punishment of the
bastinado, disabling him from work for a twelvemonth; "but such was his
love of Christian liberty, that he freely declared to his companion,
that he would adventure with any fair opportunity." By devious paths,
journeying in the darkness of night, and by day sheltering themselves
from observation in bushes, or in the branches of fig trees, they at
length reached the sea. With imminent risk of discovery, they succeeded
in finding a boat, not far from Sallee. This they took without
consulting the proprietor, and rowed to a ship at a distance, which, to
their great joy, proved to be an English man-of-war. Making known to its
commander the exposed situation of the Moorish ships, they formed part
of an expedition in boats, which boarded and burned them, in the night.
"One Moor," says the account, "we found aboard, who was presently cut in
pieces; another was shot in the head, endeavoring to escape upon the
cable; we were not long in taking in our shavings and tar barrels, and
so set her on fire in several places, she being very apt to receive what
we designed; for there were several barrels of tar upon deck, and she
was newly tarred, as if on purpose. Whilst we were setting her on fire,
we heard a noise of some people in the hold; we opened the scuttles, and
thereby saved the lives of four Christians, three Dutchmen and one
French, who told us the ship on fire was Admiral, and belonged to
Aly-Hackum, and the other, which we soon after served with the same
sauce, was the very ship which in October last took me captive." The
Englishman, once a captive, who tells this story, says it is "most
especially to move pity for the afflictions of Joseph, to excite
compassionate regard to those poor countrymen now languishing in misery
and irons, to endeavor their releasement."[74]

[Footnote 74: Osborne's Voyages, vol. ii. pp. 497-510.]

Even the non-resistance of Quakers, animated by a zeal for freedom,
contrived to baffle these slave dealers. A ship in the charge of people
of this sect became the prey of the Algerines; and the curious story is
told with details, unnecessary to mention here, of the effective manner
in which the ship was subsequently recaptured by the crew without loss
of life. To complete this triumph, the slave pirates were safely landed
on their own shores, and allowed to go their way in peace, acknowledging
with astonishment and gratitude this new application of the Christian
injunction to do good to them that hate you. Charles the Second,
learning from the master, on his return, that "he had been taken by the
Turks, and redeemed himself without fighting," and that he had
subsequently let his enemies go free, rebuked him, saying, with the
spirit of a slave dealer, "You have done like a fool, for you might have
had a good gain for them." And to the mate he said, "You should have
brought the Turks to me." "_I thought it better for them to be in their
own country_" was the Quaker's reply.[75]

[Footnote 75: Sewell's History of the Quakers, pp. 392-397.]


In the current of time other instances occurred. A letter from Algiers,
dated August 6, 1772, and preserved in the British Annual Register,
furnishes the following story:[76] "A most remarkable escape," it says,
"of some Christian prisoners has lately been effected here, which will
undoubtedly cause those that have not had that good fortune to be
treated with utmost rigor. On the morning of the 27th July, the Dey was
informed that all the Christian slaves had escaped the over-night in a
galley; this news soon raised him, and, upon inquiry, it was found to
have been a preconcerted plan. About ten at night, seventy-four slaves,
who had found means to escape from their masters, met in a large square
near the gate which opens to the harbor, and, being well armed, they
soon forced the guard to submit, and, to prevent their raising the city,
confined them all in the powder magazine. They then proceeded to the
lower part of the harbor, where they embarked on board a large rowing
polacre that was left there for the purpose, and, the tide ebbing out,
they fell gently down with it, and passed both the forts. As soon as
this was known, three large galleys were ordered out after them, but to
no purpose. They returned in three days, with the news of seeing the
polacre sail into Barcelona, where the galleys durst not go to attack

[Footnote 76: Vol. xv. p. 130.]


In the same journal[77] there is a record of another triumph of freedom
in a letter from Palma, the capital of Majorca, dated September 3, 1776.
"Forty-six captives," it says, "who were employed to draw stones from a
quarry some leagues' distance from Algiers, at a place named Genova,
resolved, if possible, to recover their liberty, and yesterday took
advantage of the idleness and inattention of forty men who were to guard
them, and who had laid down their arms, and were rambling about the
shore. The captives attacked them with pickaxes and other tools, and
made themselves masters of their arms; and, having killed thirty-three
of the forty, and eleven of the thirteen sailors who were in the boat
which carried the stones, they obliged the rest to jump into the sea.
Being then masters of the boat, and armed with twelve muskets, two
pistols, and powder, they set sail, and had the good fortune to arrive
here this morning, where they are performing quarantine. Sixteen of them
are Spaniards, seventeen French, eight Portuguese, three Italian, one a
German, and one a Sardinian."

[Footnote 77: Vol. xix. p. 176.]

Thus far I have followed the efforts of European nations, and the
struggles of Europeans, unhappy victims to White Slavery. I pass now to
America, and to our own country. In the name of fellow-countryman there
is a charm of peculiar power. The story of his sorrows will come nearer
to our hearts, and, perhaps, to the experience of individuals or
families among us, than the story of Spaniards, Frenchmen, or
Englishmen. Nor are materials wanting.

Even in the early days of the colonies, while they were yet contending
with the savage Indians, many American families were compelled to mourn
the hapless fate of brothers, fathers, and husbands doomed to slavery in
distant African Barbary. Only five short years after the landing of the
Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock,[78] it appears from the records of the town,
under date of 1625, that "two ships, freighted from Plymouth, were taken
by the Turks in the English Channel, and carried into Sallee." A little
later, in 1640, "one Austin, a man of good estate," returning
discontented to England from Quinipiack, now New Haven, on his way "was
taken by the Turks, and his wife and family were carried to Algiers, and
sold there as slaves."[79] And, under date of 1671, in the diary of the
Rev. John Eliot, the first minister of Roxbury, and the illustrious
apostle to the Indians, prefixed to the record of the church in that
town, and still preserved in manuscript, these few words tell a story of
sorrow: "We heard the sad and heavy tidings concerning the captivity of
Captain Foster and his son at Sallee." From further entries in the diary
it appears, that, after a bondage of three years, they were redeemed.
But the same record shows other victims, for whom the sympathies of the
church and neighborhood were enlisted. Here is one: "20 10m. 1674. This
Sabbath we had a public collection for Edward Howard of Boston, to
redeem him out of his sad Turkish captivity, in which collection was
gathered £12 18s. 9d., which, by God's favor, made up the just sum
desired." And not long after, at a date left uncertain, it appears that
William Bowen "was taken by the Turks;" a contribution was made for his
redemption; "and the people went to the public box, young and old, but
before the money could answer the end for which the congregation
intended it," tidings came of the death of the unhappy captive, and the
money was afterwards "improved to build a tomb for the town to inter
their ministers."[80]

[Footnote 78: Davis's Extracts relating to Plymouth, p. 3.]

[Footnote 79: Winthrop's Journal, vol. ii. p. 11.]

[Footnote 80: MS. Records of First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts.]

Instances now thicken. A ship, sailing from Charlestown, in 1678, was
taken by a corsair, and carried into Algiers, whence its passengers and
crew never returned. They probably died in slavery. Among these was Dr.
Daniel Mason, a graduate of Harvard College, and the earliest of that
name on the list; also James Ellson, the mate. The latter, in a
testamentary letter addressed to his wife, and dated at Algiers, June
30, 1679, desired her to redeem out of captivity two of his
companions.[81] At the same period William Harris, a person of
consequence in the colony, one of the associates of Roger Williams in
the first planting of Providence, and now in the sixty-eighth year of
his age, sailing from Boston for England on public business, was also
taken by a corsair, and carried into Algiers. On the 23d February, 1679,
this veteran,--older than the slaveholder Cato when he learned
Greek,--together with all the crew, was sold into slavery. The fate of
his companions is unknown; but Mr. Harris, after remaining in this
condition more than a year, obtained his freedom at the cost of $1200,
called by him "the price of a good farm." The feelings of the people of
the colony, touched by these disasters, are concisely expressed in a
private letter dated at Boston, New England, November 10, 1680, where it
is said, "The Turks have so taken our New England ships richly loaden
homeward bound, that it is very dangerous to goe. Many of our neighbors
are now in captivity in Argeer. The Lord find out some way for their

[Footnote 81: Middlesex [Massachusetts] Probate Files in MS.]

[Footnote 82: William Gilbert to Arthur Bridge, MS.]

Still later, as we enter the next century, we meet a curious notice of
the captivity of a Bostonian. Under date of Tuesday, January 11, 1714,
Chief Justice Samuel Sewell, in his journal, after describing a dinner
with Mr. Gee, and mentioning the guests, among whom were the famous
divines, Increase and Cotton Mather, adds, "It seems it was in
remembrance of his landing this day at Boston, after his Algerine
captivity. Had a good treat. Dr. Cotton Mather, in returning thanks,
very well comprised many weighty things very pertinently."[83] Among the
many weighty things very pertinently comprised by this eminent preacher,
in returning thanks, it is hoped, was a condemnation of slavery. Surely
he could not then have shrunk from giving utterance to that faith which
preaches deliverance to the captive.

[Footnote 83: MS. Journal of Chief Justice Samuel Sewell.]

But leaving the imperfect records of colonial days, I descend at once to
that period, almost in the light of these times, when our National
Government, justly careful of the liberty of its white citizens, was
aroused to put forth all its power in their behalf. The war of the
Revolution closed in 1783, by the acknowledgment of the independence of
the United States. The new national flag, then freshly unfurled, and
hardly known to the world, seemed to have little power to protect
persons or property from the outrages of the Barbary States. Within
three years, no less than ten American vessels became their prey. At one
time an apprehension prevailed, that Dr. Franklin had been captured. "We
are waiting," said one of his French correspondents, "with the greatest
patience to hear from you. The newspapers have given us anxiety on your
account; for some of them insist that you have been taken by the
Algerines, while others pretend that you are at Morocco, enduring your
slavery with all the patience of a philosopher."[84] The property of our
merchants was sacrificed or endangered. Insurance at Lloyd's, in London,
could be had only at advanced prices; while it was difficult to obtain
freight for American bottoms.[85] The Mediterranean trade seemed closed
to our enterprise. To a people filled with the spirit of commerce, and
bursting with new life, this in itself was disheartening; but the
sufferings of our unhappy fellow-citizens, captives in a distant land,
aroused a feeling of a higher strain.

[Footnote 84: Sparks's Works of Franklin, ix. 506, 507; x. 230. M. Le
Veillard to Dr. Franklin, October 9, 1785.]

[Footnote 85: Boston Independent Chronicle, April 28, 1785, vol. xvii.
No. 866; May 12, 1785, No. 868; Oct. 20, 1785, No. 886; Nov. 3, 1785,
No. 888; Nov. 17, 1785, No. 890; March 2, 1786, vol. xviii. No. 908;
April 27, 1786, No. 918.]

As from time to time the tidings of these things reached America, a
voice of horror and indignation swelled through the land. The slave
corsairs of African Barbary were branded sometimes as "infernal crews,"
sometimes as "human harpies."[86] This sentiment acquired new force,
when, at two different periods, by the fortunate escape of captives,
what seemed an authentic picture of their condition was presented to the
world. The story of these fugitives will show at once the hardships of
their lot, and the foundation of the appeal which was soon made to the
country with so much effect.

[Footnote 86: Boston Independent Chronicle, May 18, 1786, xviii. No.
916; Sparks's Franklin, ix. 506, 507.]

The earliest of these escapes was in 1788, by a person originally
captured in a vessel from Boston. At Algiers he had been, with the rest
of the ship's company, exposed for sale at public auction, whence he was
sent to the country house of his master, about two miles from town.
Here, for the space of eighteen months, he was chained to the
wheelbarrow, and allowed only one pound of bread a day, during all which
wretched period he had no opportunity to learn the fate of his
companions. From the country he was removed to Algiers, where, in a
numerous company of white slaves, he encountered three of his shipmates,
and twenty-six other Americans. After remaining for some time crowded
together in the slave prison, they were all distributed among the
different galleys in the service of the Dey. Our fugitive, with eighteen
other white slaves, was put on board a xebec, carrying eight
six-pounders and sixty men, which, on the coast of Malta, encountered an
armed vessel belonging to Genoa, and, after much bloodshed, was taken
sword in hand. Eleven of the unfortunate slaves, compelled to this
unwelcome service in the cause of a tyrannical master, were killed in
the contest, before the triumph of the Genoese could deliver them from
their chains. Our countryman and the few still alive were at once set at
liberty, and, it is said, "treated with that humanity which
distinguishes the Christian from the barbarian."[87]

[Footnote 87: Boston Independent Chronicle, Oct. 16, 1778, vol. xx. No.
1042; History of the War with Tripoli, p. 59.]


His escape was followed in the next year by that of several others,
achieved under circumstances widely different. They had entered, about
five years before, on board a vessel belonging to Philadelphia, which
was captured near the Western Islands, and carried into Algiers. The
crew, consisting of twenty persons, were doomed to bondage. Several were
sent into the country and chained to work with the mules. Others were
put on board a galley and chained to the oars. The latter, tempted by
the facilities of their position near the sea, made several attempts to
escape, which for some time proved fruitless. At last, the love of
freedom triumphing over the suggestions of humanity, they rose upon
their overseers; some of whom they killed, and confined others. Then,
seizing a small galley of their masters, they set sail for Gibraltar,
where in a few hours they landed as freemen.[88] Thus, by killing their
keepers and carrying off property not their own, did these fugitive
white slaves achieve their liberty.

[Footnote 88: History of the War with Tripoli, p. 62. American Museum,
vol. viii. Appendix.]

Such stories could not be recounted without producing a strong effect.
The glimpses thus opened into the dread regions of slavery gave a
harrowing reality to all that conjecture or imagination had pictured. It
was, indeed, true, that our own white brethren, heirs to the freedom
newly purchased by precious blood, partakers in the sovereignty of
citizenship, belonging to the fellowship of the Christian church, were
degraded in unquestioning obedience to an arbitrary taskmaster, sold as
beasts of the field, and galled by the manacle and the lash! It was true
that they were held at fixed prices; and that their only chance of
freedom was to be found in the earnest, energetic, united efforts of
their countrymen in their behalf. It is not easy to comprehend the exact
condition to which they were reduced. There is no reason to believe that
it differed materially from that of other Christian captives in Algiers.
The masters of vessels were lodged together, and indulged with a table
by themselves, though a small iron ring was attached to one of their
legs, to denote that they were slaves. The seamen were taught and
obliged to work at the trade of carpenter, blacksmith, and stone mason,
from six o'clock in the morning till four o'clock in the afternoon,
without intermission, except for half an hour at dinner.[89] Some of the
details of their mode of life, as transmitted to us, are doubtless
exaggerated. It is, however, sufficient to know that they were slaves;
nor is there any other human condition, which, when barely mentioned,
even without one word of description, so strongly awakens the sympathies
of every just and enlightened lover of his race.

[Footnote 89: History of the War between the United States and Tripoli,
p. 52.]


With a view to secure their freedom, informal agencies were soon
established under the direction of our minister at Paris; and the
_Society of Redemption_--whose beneficent exertions, commencing so early
in modern history, were still continued--offered their aid. Our agents
were blandly entertained by that great slave dealer, the Dey of Algiers,
who informed them that he was familiar with the exploits of Washington,
and, as he never expected to see him, expressed a hope, that, through
Congress, he might receive a full-length portrait of this hero of
freedom, to be displayed in his palace at Algiers. He, however, still
clung to his American slaves, holding them at prices beyond the means of
the agents. These, in 1786, were $6000 for a master of a vessel, $4000
for a mate, $4000 for a passenger, and $1400 for a seaman; whereas the
agents were authorized to offer only $200 for each captive.[90] In 1790,
the tariff of prices seems to have fallen. Meanwhile, one obtained his
freedom through private means, others escaped, and others still were
liberated by the great liberator Death. The following list, if not
interesting from the names of the captives, will at least be curious as
evidence of the sums demanded for them in the slave market:[91]--

    _Crew of the Ship Dolphin, of Philadelphia, captured July 30,


    Richard O'Brien, master, price demanded,        2,000
    Andrew Montgomery, mate,                        1,500
    Jacob Tessanier, French passenger,              2,000
    William Patterson, seaman, (keeps a tavern,)    1,500
    Philip Sloan,         "                           725
    Peleg Loring,         "                           725
    John Robertson,       "                           725
    James Hall,           "                           725

    _Crew of the Schooner Maria, of Boston, captured July 25,

    Isaac Stevens, master, (of Concord, Mass.,)     2,000
    Alexander Forsythe, mate,                       1,500
    James Cathcart, seaman, (keeps a tavern,)         900
    George Smith,      "    (in the Dey's house,)     725
    John Gregory,      "                              725
    James Hermit,      "                              725
    Duty on the above sum, ten per cent.,           1,647-1/2
    Sundry gratifications to officers of the
          Dey's household,                            240-1/3
                                           Sequins 18,362-5/6

    This sum being equal to $34,792.

[Footnote 90: Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 353.]

[Footnote 91: Lyman's Diplomacy vol. ii. p. 357; History of the War with
Tripoli, p. 64.]

In 1793, there were one hundred and fifteen American slaves in
Algiers.[92] Their condition excited the fraternal feeling of the whole
people, while it occupied the anxious attention of Congress and the
prayers of the clergy. A petition dated at Algiers, December 29, 1793,
was addressed to the House of Representatives, by these unhappy
persons.[93] "Your petitioners," it says, "are at present captives in
this city of bondage, employed daily in the most laborious work, without
any respect to persons. They pray that you will take their unfortunate
situation into consideration, and adopt such measures as will restore
the American captives to their country, their friends, families, and
connections; and your petitioners will ever pray and be thankful." But
the action of Congress was sluggish, compared with the swift desires of
all lovers of freedom.

[Footnote 92: Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 359.]

[Footnote 93: Ibid. p. 360.]

Appeals of a different character, addressed to the country at large,
were now commenced. These were efficiently aided by a letter to the
American people, dated Lisbon, July 11, 1794, from Colonel Humphreys,
the friend and companion of Washington, and at that time our minister to
Portugal. Taking advantage of the general interest in lotteries, and
particularly of the custom, not then condemned, of resorting to these as
a mode of obtaining money for literary or benevolent purposes, he
suggested a grand lottery, sanctioned by the United States, or
particular lotteries in the individual states, in order to obtain the
means required to purchase the freedom of our countrymen. He then asks,
"Is there within the limits of these United States an individual who
will not cheerfully contribute, in proportion to his means, to carry it
into effect? By the peculiar blessings of freedom which you enjoy, by
the disinterested sacrifices you made for its attainment, by the
patriotic blood of those martyrs of liberty who died to secure your
independence, and by all the tender ties of nature, let me conjure you
once more to snatch your unfortunate countrymen from fetters, dungeons,
and death."

This appeal was followed shortly after by a petition from the American
captives in Algiers, addressed to the ministers of the gospel of every
denomination throughout the United States, praying their help in the
sacred cause of Emancipation. It begins by an allusion to the day of
national thanksgiving appointed by President Washington, and proceeds to
ask the clergy to set apart the Sunday preceding that day for sermons,
to be delivered contemporaneously throughout the country in behalf of
their brethren in bonds.[94]

  "_Reverend and Respected_,--

  "On Thursday, the 19th of February, 1795, you are enjoined by
  the President of the United States of America to appear in the
  various temples of that God who heareth the groaning of the
  prisoner, and in mercy remembereth those who are appointed to

  "Nor are ye to assemble alone; for on this, the high day of
  continental thanksgiving, all the religious societies and
  denominations throughout the Union, and all persons whomsoever
  within the limits of the confederated States, are to enter the
  courts of Jehovah, with their several pastors, and gratefully
  to render unfeigned thanks to the Ruler of nations for the
  manifold and signal mercies which distinguish your lot as a
  people; in a more particular manner, commemorating your
  exemption from foreign war; being greatly thankful for the
  preservation of peace at home and abroad; and fervently
  beseeching the kind Author of all these blessings graciously to
  prolong them to you, and finally to render the United States of
  America more and more an asylum for the unfortunate of every
  clime under heaven.

  "_Reverend and Respected_,--

  "Most fervent are our daily prayers, breathed in the sincerity
  of woes unspeakable; most ardent are the imbittered aspirations
  of our afflicted spirits, that thus it may be in deed and in
  truth. Although we are prisoners in a foreign land, although we
  are far, very far from our native homes, although our harps are
  hung upon the weeping willows of slavery, nevertheless America
  is still preferred above our chiefest joy, and the last wish of
  our departing souls shall be _her peace, her prosperity, her
  liberty forever_. On this day, the day of festivity and
  gladness, remember us, your unfortunate brethren, late members
  of the family of freedom, now doomed to perpetual confinement.
  _Pray, earnestly pray, that our grievous calamities may have a
  gracious end. Supplicate the Father of mercies for the most
  wretched of his offspring. Beseech the God of all consolation
  to comfort us by the hope of final restoration. Implore the
  Jesus whom you worship to open the house of the prison. Entreat
  the Christ whom you adore to let the miserable captives go

  "_Reverend and Respected_,--

  "It is not your prayers alone, although of much avail, which we
  beg on the bending knee of sufferance, galled by the corroding
  fetters of slavery. We conjure you by the bowels of the mercies
  of the Almighty, we ask you in the name of your Father in
  heaven, to have compassion on our miseries, to wipe away the
  crystallized tears of despondence, to hush the heartfelt sigh
  of distress; _and by every possible exertion of godlike
  charity, to restore us to our wives, to our children, to our
  friends, to our God and to yours_.

  "Is it possible that a stimulus can be wanting? Forbid it, the
  example of a dying, bleeding, crucified Savior! Forbid it, the
  precepts of a risen, ascended, glorified Immanuel! _Do unto us
  in fetters, in bonds, in dungeons, in danger of the pestilence,
  as ye yourselves would wish to be done unto. Lift up your
  voices like a trumpet; cry aloud in the cause of humanity,
  benevolence, philosophy; eloquence can never be directed to a
  nobler purpose; religion never employed in a more glorious
  cause; charity never meditate a more exalted flight._ O that a
  live coal from the burning altar of celestial beneficence might
  warm the hearts of the sacred order, and impassion the feelings
  of the attentive hearer!

  "_Gentlemen of the Clergy in New Hampshire, Rhode Island,
  Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia_,--

  "Your most zealous exertions, your unremitting assiduities, are
  pathetically invoked. Those States in which you minister unto
  the Church of God gave us birth. We are as aliens from the
  commonwealth of America. We are strangers to the temples of our
  God. The strong arm of infidelity hath bound us with two
  chains; the iron one of slavery and the sword of death are
  entering our very souls. _Arise, ye ministers of the Most High,
  Christians of every denomination, awake unto charity! Let a
  brief, setting forth our situation, be published throughout the
  continent. Be it read in every house of worship, on Sunday, the
  8th of February. Command a preparatory discourse to be
  delivered on Sunday, the 15th of February, in all churches
  whithersoever this petition or the brief may come; and on
  Thursday, the 19th of February, complete the godlike work._ It
  is a day which assembles a continent to thanksgiving. It is a
  day which calls an empire to praise. God grant that this may be
  the day which emancipates the forlorn captive, and may the best
  blessings of those who are ready to perish be your abiding
  portion forever! Thus prays a small remnant who are still
  alive; thus pray your fellow-citizens, chained to the galleys
  of the impostor Mahomet.

  "Signed for and in behalf of his fellow-sufferers, by


  "In the tenth year of his captivity."

[Footnote 94: History of the War with Tripoli, pp. 69-71.]

The cause in which this document was written will indispose the candid
reader to any criticism of its somewhat exuberant language. Like the
drama of Cervantes, setting forth the horrors of the galleys of Algiers,
"it was not drawn from the imagination, but was born far from the
regions of fiction, in the very heart of truth." Its earnest appeals
were calculated to touch the soul, and to make the very name of slavery
and slave dealer detestable.

And here I should do injustice to the truth of history, if I did not
suspend for one moment the narrative of this Anti-Slavery movement, in
order to exhibit the pointed parallels then extensively recognized
between Algerine and American slavery. The conscientious man could not
plead in behalf of the emancipation of his white fellow-citizens,
without confessing in his heart, perhaps to the world, that every
consideration, every argument, every appeal urged for the white man,
told with equal force in behalf of his wretched colored brother in
bonds. Thus the interest awakened for the slave in Algiers embraced also
the slave at home. Sometimes they were said to be alike in condition;
sometimes, indeed, it was openly declared that the horrors of our
American slavery surpassed that of Algiers.

John Wesley, the oracle of Methodism, addressing those engaged in the
negro slave trade, said, as early as 1772, "You have carried the
survivors into the vilest of slavery, never to end but with life--_such
slavery as is not found among the Turks at Algiers_."[95] And another
writer, in 1794, when the sympathy with the American captives was at its
height, presses the parallel in pungent terms: "For this practice of
buying and selling slaves," he says, "we are not entitled to charge the
Algerines with any exclusive degree of barbarity. The Christians of
Europe and America carry on this commerce one hundred times more
extensively than the Algerines. It has received a recent sanction from
the immaculate Divan of Britain. Nobody seems even to be surprised by a
diabolical kind of advertisements, which, for some months past, have
frequently adorned the newspapers of Philadelphia. The French fugitives
from the West Indies have brought with them a crowd of slaves. These
most injured people sometimes run off, and their master advertises a
reward for apprehending them. At the same time, we are commonly informed
that his sacred name is marked in capitals on their breasts; or, in
plainer terms, it is stamped on that part of the body with a red-hot
iron. Before, therefore, we reprobate the ferocity of the Algerines, we
should inquire whether it is not possible to find in some other region
of this globe a systematic brutality still more disgraceful."[96]

[Footnote 95: Wesley's Thoughts on Slavery, (1772,) p. 26.]

[Footnote 96: Short Account of Algiers, (Philadelphia, 1794,) p. 18.]

Not long after the address to the clergy by the captives in Algiers, a
publication appeared in New Hampshire, entitled "Tyrannical Libertymen;
a Discourse upon Negro Slavery in the United States, composed at ---- in
New Hampshire on the late Federal Thanksgiving Day,"[97] which does not
hesitate to brand American slavery in terms of glowing reprobation.
"There was a contribution upon this day," it says, "for the purpose of
redeeming those Americans who are in slavery at Algiers--an object
worthy of a generous people. Their redemption, we hope, is not far
distant. But should any person contribute money for this purpose which
he had cudgelled out of a negro slave, he would deserve less applause
than an actor in the comedy of Las Casas.... When will Americans show
that they are what they affect to be thought--friends to the cause of
humanity at large, reverers of the rights of their fellow-creatures?
Hitherto we have been oppressors; nay, murderers! for many a negro has
died by the whip of his master, and many have lived when death would
have been preferable. Surely the curse of God and the reproach of man is
against us. Worse than the seven plagues of Egypt will befall us. If
Algiers shall be punished sevenfold, truly America seventy and

[Footnote 97: From the Eagle Office, Hanover, New Hampshire, 1795.]

To the excitement of this discussion we are indebted for the story of
"The Algerine Captive;" a work to which, though now forgotten, belongs
the honor of being among the earliest literary productions of our
country reprinted in London, at a time when few American books were
known abroad. It was published anonymously, but is known to have been
written by Royall Tyler, afterwards Chief Justice of Vermont. In the
form of a narrative of personal adventures, extending through two
volumes, as a slave in Algiers, the author depicts the horrors of this
condition. In this regard it is not unlike the story of "Archy Moore,"
in our own day, displaying the horrors of American slavery. The author,
while engaged as surgeon on board a ship in the African slave trade, is
taken captive by the Algerines. After describing the reception of the
poor negroes, he says, "I cannot reflect on this transaction yet without
shuddering. I have deplored my conduct with tears of anguish; and I pray
a merciful God, the common Parent of the great family of the universe,
who hath made of one flesh and one blood all nations of the earth, that
the miseries, the insults, and cruel woundings I afterwards received,
when a slave myself, may expiate for the inhumanity I was necessitated
to exercise towards these my brethren of the human race."[98] And when
at length he is himself made captive by the Algerines, he records his
meditations and resolves. "Grant me," he says, from the depths of his
own misfortune, "once more to taste the freedom of my native country,
and every moment of my life shall be dedicated to preaching against this
detestable commerce. I will fly to our fellow-citizens in the Southern
States; I will, on my knees, conjure them, in the name of humanity, to
abolish a traffic which causes it to bleed in every pore. If they are
deaf to the pleadings of nature, I will conjure them, for the sake of
consistency, to cease to deprive their fellow-creatures of freedom,
which their writers, their orators, representatives, senators, and even
their constitutions of government, have declared to be the unalienable
birthright of man."[99]

[Footnote 98: Chap. xxx.]

[Footnote 99: Chap. xxxii.]

But this comparison was presented not merely in the productions of
literature, or in fugitive essays. It was distinctly set forth, on an
important occasion, in the diplomacy of our country, by one of her most
illustrious citizens. Complaint had been made against England for
carrying away from New York certain negroes, in alleged violation of the
treaty of 1783. In an elaborate paper discussing this matter, John Jay,
at that time, under the Confederation, Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
says, "Whether men can be so degraded as, under any circumstances, to be
with propriety denominated _goods and chattels_, and, under that idea,
capable of becoming _booty_, is a question on which opinions are
unfortunately various, even in countries professing Christianity and
respect for the rights of mankind." He then proceeds, in words worthy of
special remembrance at this time: "If a war should take place between
France and Algiers, and in the course of it France should invite the
American slaves there to run away from their masters, and actually
receive and protect them in their camp, what would Congress, and indeed
the world, think and say of France, if, in making peace with Algiers,
she should give up those American slaves to their former Algerine
masters? _Is there any difference between the two cases than this_,
viz., _that the American slaves at Algiers are_ WHITE _people, whereas
the African slaves at New York were_ BLACK _people_?" In introducing
these sentiments, the Secretary remarks, "He is aware he is about to say
unpopular things; but higher motives than personal considerations press
him to proceed."[100] Words worthy of John Jay!

[Footnote 100: Secret Journals of Congress, 1786, vol. iv. pp. 274-280.]

The same comparison was also presented by the Abolition Society of
Pennsylvania, in an Address, in 1787, to the Convention which framed the
Federal Constitution. "Providence," it says, "seems to have ordained the
sufferings of our American brethren, groaning in captivity at Algiers,
to awaken us to a sentiment of the injustice and cruelty of which we are
guilty towards the wretched Africans."[101] Shortly afterwards, it was
again brought forward by Dr. Franklin, in an ingenious apologue, marked
by his peculiar humor, simplicity, logic, and humanity. As President of
the same Abolition Society, which had already addressed the Convention,
he signed a memorial to the earliest Congress under the Constitution,
praying it "to countenance the restoration of liberty to those unhappy
men, who alone, in this land of freedom, are degraded into perpetual
bondage; and to step to the _very verge_ of the power vested in them for
_discouraging_ every species of traffic in the persons of our
fellow-men." In the debates which ensued on the presentation of this
memorial,--memorable not only for its intrinsic importance as a guide to
the country, but as the final public act of one of the chief founders of
our national institutions,--several attempts were made to justify
slavery and the slave trade. The last and almost dying energies of
Franklin were excited. In a remarkable document, written only
twenty-four days before his death, and published in the journals of the
time, he gave a parody of a speech actually delivered in the American
Congress--transferring the scene to Algiers, and putting the American
speech in the mouth of a corsair slave dealer, in the Divan at that
place. All the arguments adduced in favor of negro slavery are applied
by the Algerine orator with equal force to justify the plunder and
enslavement of whites.[102] With this protest against a great wrong,
Franklin died.

[Footnote 101: Brissot's Travels, vol. i. letter 22.]

[Footnote 102: Sparks's Franklin, vol. ii. p. 517.]

Most certainly we shall be aided, at least in our appreciation of
American slavery, when we know that it was likened, by characters like
Wesley, Jay, and Franklin, to the abomination of slavery in Algiers. But
whatever may have been the influence of this parallel on the condition
of the black slaves, it did not check the rising sentiments of the
people against White Slavery.

The country was now aroused. A general contribution was proposed for the
emancipation of our brethren. Their cause was pleaded in churches, and
not forgotten at the festive board. At all public celebrations, the
toasts, "Happiness for all," and "Universal Liberty," were proposed, not
less in sympathy with the efforts for freedom in France than with those
for our own wretched white fellow-countrymen in bonds. On at least one
occasion,[103] they were distinctly remembered in the following toast:
"Our brethren in slavery at Algiers. May the measures adopted for their
redemption be successful, and may they live to rejoice with their
friends in the blessings of liberty."

[Footnote 103: At Portsmouth, N. H., at a public entertainment, April 3,
1795, in honor of French successes.--Boston Independent Chronicle, vol.
xxvii. No. 1469.]

Meanwhile, the earnest efforts of our government were continued. In his
message to Congress, bearing date December 8, 1795, President Washington
said, "With peculiar satisfaction I add, that information has been
received from an agent deputed on our part to Algiers, importing that
the terms of the treaty with the Dey and regency of that country have
been adjusted in such a manner as to authorize the expectation of a
speedy peace, and the restoration of our unfortunate fellow-citizens
from a grievous captivity." This, indeed, had been already effected on
the 5th of September, 1795.[104] It was a treaty full of humiliation for
the _chivalry_ of our country. Besides securing to the Algerine
government a large sum, in consideration of present peace and the
liberation of the captives, it stipulated for an annual tribute from the
United States of twenty-one thousand dollars. But feelings of pride
disappeared in heartfelt satisfaction. It is recorded that a thrill of
joy went through the land when it was announced that a vessel had left
Algiers, having on board all the Americans who had been in captivity
there. Their emancipation was purchased at the cost of upwards of seven
hundred thousand dollars. But the largess of money, and even the
indignity of tribute, were forgotten in gratulations on their new-found
happiness. The President, in a message to Congress, December 7, 1796,
presented their "actual liberation" as a special subject of joy "to
every feeling heart." Thus did our government construct a Bridge of Gold
for freedom.

[Footnote 104: United States Statutes at Large, (Little & Brown's
edit.,) Treaties, vol. viii. p. 133; Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p.

This act of national generosity was followed by peace with Tripoli,
purchased November 4, 1796, for the sum of fifty thousand dollars, under
the guaranty of the Dey of Algiers, who was declared to be "the mutual
friend of the parties." By an article in this treaty, negotiated by Joel
Barlow,--out of tenderness, perhaps, to Mohammedanism, and to save our
citizens from the slavery which was regarded as the just doom of
"Christian dogs,"--it was expressly declared that "the government of the
United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian
religion."[105] At a later day, by a treaty with Tunis, purchased after
some delay, but at a smaller price than that with Tripoli, all danger to
our citizens seemed to be averted. In this treaty it was ignominiously
provided, that fugitive slaves, taking refuge on board American merchant
vessels, and even vessels of war, should be restored to their

[Footnote 105: Article 11; Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. pp. 380, 381;
United States Statutes at Large, vol. viii. p. 154.]

[Footnote 106: Article 6; United States Statutes at Large, vol. viii. p.
157. This treaty has two dates, August, 1797, and March, 1799. William
Eaton and James Leander Cathcart were the agents of the United States at
the latter date.]


As early as 1787, a treaty of a more liberal character had been entered
into with Morocco, which was confirmed in 1795,[107] at the price of
twenty thousand dollars; while, by a treaty with Spain, in 1799, this
slave-trading empire _expressly declared its desire that the name of
slavery might be effaced from the memory of man_.[108]

[Footnote 107: Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 350; United States
Statutes at Large, vol. viii. p. 100.]

[Footnote 108: History of the War with Tripoli, p. 80.]

But these governments were barbarous, faithless, and regardless of the
duties of humanity and justice. Treaties with them were evanescent. As
in the days of Charles the Second, they seemed made merely to be broken.
They were observed only so long as money was derived under their
stipulations. Our growing commerce was soon again fatally vexed by the
Barbary corsairs, who now compelled even the ships of our navy to submit
to peculiar indignities. In 1801, the Bey of Tripoli formally declared
war against the United States, and in token thereof "our flagstaff
[before the consulate] was chopped down six feet from the ground, and
left reclining on the terrace."[109] Our citizens once more became the
prize of man-stealers. Colonel Humphreys, now at home in retirement, was
aroused. In an address to the public, he called again for united action,
saying, "Americans of the United States, your fellow-citizens are in
fetters! Can there be but one feeling? Where are the gallant remains of
the race who fought for freedom? Where the glorious heirs of their
patriotism? _Will there never be a truce between political parties? Or
must it forever be the fate of_ FREE STATES, _that the soft voice of
union should be drowned in the hoarse clamors of discord?_ No! Let every
friend of blessed humanity and sacred freedom entertain a better hope
and confidence."[110] Colonel Humphreys was not a statesman only; he was
known as a poet also. And in this character he made another appeal to
his country. In a poem on "The Future Glory of the United States," he
breaks forth into an indignant condemnation of slavery, which, whatever
may be the merits of its verse, should not be omitted here.

    Teach me curst slavery's cruel woes to paint,
    Beneath whose weight our captured freemen faint!
       *       *       *       *       *
    Where am I! Heavens! what mean these dolorous cries?
    And what these horrid scenes that round me rise?
    Heard ye the groans, those messengers of pain?
    Heard ye the clanking of the captive's chain?
    Heard ye your free-born sons their fate deplore,
    Pale in their chains and laboring at the oar?
    Saw ye the dungeon, in whose blackest cell,
    That house of woe, your friends, your children, dwell?--
    Or saw ye those who dread the torturing hour,
    Crushed by the rigors of a tyrant's power?
    _Saw ye the shrinking slave, th' uplifted lash,
    The frowning butcher, and the reddening gash?
    Saw ye the fresh blood where it bubbling broke
    From purple scars, beneath the grinding stroke?
    Saw ye the naked limbs writhed to and fro,
    In wild contortions of convulsing woe?_
    Felt ye the blood, with pangs alternate rolled,
    Thrill through your veins and freeze with deathlike cold,
    Or fire, as down the tear of pity stole,
    Your manly breasts, and harrow up the soul?[111]

[Footnote 109: Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 384.]

[Footnote 110: Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys, p. 75.]

[Footnote 111: Miscellaneous Works of David Humphreys, pp. 52, 53.]

The people and government responded to this voice. And here commenced
those early deeds by which our navy became known in Europe. The frigate
Philadelphia, through a reverse of shipwreck rather than war, falling
into the hands of the Tripolitans, was, by a daring act of Decatur,
burned under the guns of the enemy. Other feats of hardihood ensued. A
romantic expedition by General Eaton, from Alexandria, in Egypt, across
the desert of Libya, captured Derne. Three several times Tripoli was
attacked, and, at last, on the 3d of June, 1805, entered into a treaty,
by which it was stipulated that the United States should pay sixty
thousand dollars for the freedom of two hundred American slaves; and
that, in the event of future war between the two countries, prisoners
should not be reduced to slavery, but should be exchanged rank for rank;
and if there were any deficiency on either side, it should be made up by
the payment of five hundred Spanish dollars for each captain, three
hundred dollars for each mate and supercargo, and one hundred dollars
for each seaman.[112] Thus did our country, after successes not without
what is called the glory of arms, again purchase by money the
emancipation of her white citizens.

[Footnote 112: United States Statutes at Large, vol. viii. p. 214;
Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 388.]


The power of Tripoli was, however, inconsiderable. That of Algiers was
more formidable. It is not a little curious that the largest ship of
this slave-trading state was the Crescent, of thirty-four guns, built in
New Hampshire;[113] _though it is hardly to the credit of our sister
State that the Algerine power derived such important support from her_.
The lawlessness of the corsair again broke forth by the seizure, in
1812, of the brig Edwin, of Salem, and the enslavement of her crew. All
the energies of the country were at this time enlisted in war with Great
Britain; but, even amidst the anxieties of this gigantic contest, the
voice of these captives was heard, awakening a corresponding sentiment
throughout the land, until the government was prompted to seek their
release. Through Mr. Noah, recently appointed consul at Tunis, it
offered to purchase their freedom at three thousand dollars a head.[114]
The answer of the Dey, repeated on several occasions, was, that "not for
two millions of dollars would he sell his American slaves."[115] The
timely treaty of Ghent, in 1815, establishing peace with Great Britain,
left us at liberty to deal with this enslaver of our countrymen. A naval
force was promptly despatched to the Mediterranean, under Commodore
Bainbridge and Commodore Decatur. The rapidity of their movements and
their striking success had the desired effect. In June, 1815, a treaty
was extorted from the Dey of Algiers, by which, after abandoning all
claim to tribute in any form, he delivered his American captives, ten in
number, without any ransom; and stipulated, that hereafter no Americans
should be made slaves or forced to hard labor, and still further, that
"any Christians whatever, captives in Algiers," making their escape and
taking refuge on board an American ship of war, should be safe from all
requisition or reclamation.[116]

[Footnote 113: History of the War between the United States and Tripoli,
p. 88.]

[Footnote 114: Noah's Travels, p. 69.]

[Footnote 115: Ibid. p. 144; National Intelligencer of March 7, 1815.]

[Footnote 116: United States Statutes at Large, vol. viii. p. 224;
Lyman's Diplomacy, vol. ii. p. 376.]

It is related of Decatur, that he walked his deck with impatient
earnestness, awaiting the promised signature of the treaty. "Is the
treaty signed?" he cried to the captain of the port and the Swedish
consul, as they reached the Guerriere with a white flag of truce. "It
is," replied the Swede; and the treaty was placed in Decatur's hands.
"Are the prisoners in the boat?" "They are." "Every one of them?" "Every
one, sir." The captive Americans now came forward to greet and bless
their deliverer.[117] Surely this moment--when he looked upon his
emancipated fellow-countrymen, and thought how much he had contributed
to overthrow the relentless system of bondage under which they had
groaned--must have been one of the sweetest in the life of that hardy
son of the sea. But should I not say, even here, that there is now a
citizen of Massachusetts, who, without army or navy, by a simple act of
self-renunciation, has given freedom to a larger number of Christian
American slaves than was done by the sword of Decatur?

[Footnote 117: Mackenzie's Life of Decatur, p. 268.]

Thus, not by money, but by arms, was emancipation this time secured. The
country was grateful for the result; though the poor freedmen, ingulfed
in the unknown wastes of ocean, on their glad passage home, were never
able to mingle joys with their fellow-citizens. They were lost in the
Epervier, of which no trace has ever appeared. Nor did the people feel
the melancholy mockery in the conduct of the government, which, having
weakly declared that it "was not in any sense founded on the Christian
religion," now expressly confined the protecting power of its flag to
fugitive "Christians, captives in Algiers," leaving slaves of another
faith to be snatched as between the horns of the altar, and returned to
the continued horrors of their lot.

The success of the American arms was followed speedily by a more signal
triumph of Great Britain, acting generously in behalf of all the
Christian powers. Her expedition was debated, perhaps prompted, in the
Congress of Vienna, where, after the overthrow of Napoleon, the
brilliant representatives of the different states of Europe, in the
presence of the monarchs of Austria, Prussia, and Russia, were assembled
to consider the evils proper to be remedied by joint action, and to
adjust the disordered balance of empire. Among many high concerns, here
entertained, was the project of a crusade against the Barbary States, in
order to accomplish the complete abolition of Christian slavery there
practised. For this purpose, it was proposed to form "a holy league."
This was earnestly enforced by a memoir from Sir Sidney Smith, the same
who foiled Napoleon at Acre, and who at this time was president of an
association called the "Knights Liberators of the _White_ Slaves in
Africa,"--in our day it might be called an Abolition Society,--thus
adding to the doubtful laurels of war the true glory of striving for the
freedom of his fellow-men.[118]

[Footnote 118: Mémoire sur la Nécessité et les Moyens de faire cesser
les Pirateries des Etats Barbaresques. Reçu, considéré, et adopté à
Paris en Septembre, à Turin le 14 Octobre, 1814, à Vienne durant le
Congrès. Par M. Sidney Smith. See Quarterly Review, vol. xv. p. 140,
where this is noticed. Schoell, _Histoire des Traités de Paix_, tom. xi.
p. 402.]

This project, though not adopted by the Congress, awakened a generous
echo in the public mind. Various advocates appeared in its behalf; and
what the Congress failed to undertake was now especially urged upon
Great Britain, by the agents of Spain and Portugal, who insisted, that,
_because_ this nation had abolished the negro slave trade, it was her
_duty_ to put an end to the slavery of the _whites_.[119]

[Footnote 119: Edinburgh Review, vol. xxvi. p. 451; Osler's Life of
Exmouth, p. 302; Mackenzie's Life of Decatur, p. 263.]

A disgraceful impediment seemed at first to interfere. There was a
common belief that the obstructions of the Barbary States, in the
navigation of the Mediterranean, were advantageous to British commerce,
by thwarting and strangling that of other countries; and that therefore
Great Britain, ever anxious for commercial supremacy, would rather
encourage them than seek their overthrow--the love of trade prevailing
over the love of man.[120] This suggestion of a sordid selfishness,
which was willing to coin money out of the lives and liberties of
fellow-Christians, was soon answered.

[Footnote 120: Quarterly Review, vol. xv. p. 145; Edinburgh Review, vol.
xxvi. p. 449, noticing "A Letter to a Member of Parliament, on the
Slavery of the Christians at Algiers. By Walter Croker, Esq., of
the Royal Navy. London, 1816." Schoell, _Traités de Paix_, tom.
xi. p. 402.]

At the beginning of the year 1816, Lord Exmouth, who, as Sir Edward
Pellew, had already acquired distinction in the British navy, was
despatched with a squadron to Algiers. By his general orders, bearing
date, Boyne, Port Mahon, March 21, 1816, he announced the object of his
expedition as follows:--

  "He has been instructed and directed by his Royal Highness, the
  Prince Regent, to proceed with the fleet to Algiers, and _there
  make certain arrangements for diminishing, at least_, the
  piratical excursions of the Barbary States, _by which thousands
  of our fellow-creatures, innocently following their commercial
  pursuits, have been dragged into the most wretched and
  revolting state of slavery_.

  "The commander-in-chief is confident that _this outrageous
  system of piracy and slavery rouses in common the same spirit
  of indignation which he himself feels_; and should the
  government of Algiers refuse the reasonable demands he bears
  from the Prince Regent, he doubts not but the flag will be
  honorably and zealously supported by every officer and man
  under his command, in his endeavors to procure the acceptation
  of them by force; and _if force must be resorted to, we have
  the consolation of knowing that we fight in the sacred cause of
  humanity, and cannot fail of success_."[121]

[Footnote 121: Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 297.]


The moderate object of his mission was readily obtained. "Arrangements
for diminishing the piratical excursions of the Barbary States" were
established. Certain Ionian slaves, claimed as British subjects, were
released, and peace was secured for Naples and Sardinia--the former
paying a ransom of five hundred dollars, and the latter of three hundred
dollars, a head, for their subjects liberated from bondage. This was at
Algiers. Lord Exmouth next proceeded to Tunis and Tripoli, where, acting
beyond his instructions, he obtained from both these piratical
governments a promise to abolish Christian slavery within their
dominions. In one of his letters on this event, he says that, in
pressing these concessions, he "acted solely on his own responsibility
and without orders, the causes and reasoning on which, upon general
principles, may be defensible; but, as applying to our own country, may
not be borne out, _the old mercantile interest being against it_."[122]
A similar distrust had been excited in another age by a similar
achievement. Admiral Blake, in the time of Cromwell, after his attack
upon Tunis, writing to his government at home, said, "And now, seeing it
hath pleased God soe signally to justify us herein, I hope his highness
will not be offended at it, nor any who regard duly the honor of our
nation, _although I expect to have the clamors of interested men_."[123]
Thus, more than once in the history of these efforts to abolish White
Slavery, did commerce, the daughter of freedom, fall under the foul
suspicion of disloyalty to her parent!

[Footnote 122: Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 303.]

[Footnote 123: Thurloe's State Papers, vol. ii. p. 390.]

Lord Exmouth did injustice to the moral sense of England. His conduct
was sustained and applauded, not only in the House of Commons, but by
the public at large. He was soon directed to return to Algiers,--which
had failed to make any general renunciation of the custom of enslaving
Christians,--to extort by force such a stipulation. This expedition is
regarded by British historians with peculiar pride. In all the annals of
their triumphant navy, there is none in which the barbarism of war seems
so much "to smooth its wrinkled front." With a fleet complete at all
points, the Admiral set sail July 25, 1816, on what was deemed a holy
war. With five line-of-battle ships, five heavy frigates, four bomb
vessels, and five gun brigs, besides a Dutch fleet of five frigates and
a corvette, under Admiral Van de Capellan,--who, on learning the object
of the expedition, solicited and obtained leave to coöperate,--on the
27th of August he anchored before the formidable fortifications of
Algiers. It would not be agreeable or instructive to dwell on the scene
of desolation and blood which ensued. Before night the fleet fired,
besides shells and rockets, one hundred and eighteen tons of powder, and
fifty thousand shot, weighing more than five hundred tons. The citadel
and massive batteries of Algiers were shattered and crumbled to ruins.
The storehouses, ships, and gun boats were in flames, while the blazing
lightnings of battle were answered, in a storm of signal fury, by the
lightnings of heaven. The power of the Great Slave Dealer was humbled.

The terms of submission were announced to his fleet by the Admiral in an
order, dated, Queen Charlotte, Algiers Bay, August 30, 1816, which may
be read with truer pleasure than any in military or naval history.

  "The commander-in-chief," he said, "is happy to inform the
  fleet of the final termination of their strenuous exertions, by
  the signature of peace, confirmed under a salute of twenty-one
  guns, on the following conditions, dictated by his Royal
  Highness, the Prince Regent of England.


  "_Second. The delivery to my flag of all slaves in the
  dominions of the Dey, to whatever nation they may belong, at
  noon to-morrow._

  "_Third._ To deliver also to my flag all money received by him
  for the redemption of slaves since the commencement of this
  year, at noon also to-morrow."

On the next day, twelve hundred slaves were emancipated, making, with
those liberated in his earlier expedition, more than three thousand,
whom, by address or force, Lord Exmouth had delivered from bondage.[124]

[Footnote 124: Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 334; British Annual Register,
(1816,) vol. lviii. pp. 97-106; Shaler's Sketches, pp. 279-294.]

Thus ended White Slavery in the Barbary States. It had already died out
in Morocco. It had been quietly renounced by Tripoli and Tunis. Its last
retreat was Algiers, whence it was driven amidst the thunder of the
British cannon.

Signal honors now awaited the Admiral. He was elevated to a new rank in
the peerage, and on his coat of arms was emblazoned a figure never
before known in heraldry--_a Christian slave holding aloft the cross and
dropping his broken fetters_.[125] From the officers of the squadron he
received a costly service of plate, with an inscription, in testimony of
"the memorable victory gained at Algiers, _where the great cause of
Christian freedom was bravely fought and nobly accomplished_."[126] But
higher far than honor were the rich personal satisfactions which he
derived from contemplating the nature of the cause in which he had been
enlisted. In his despatch to the government, describing the battle, and
written at the time, he says, in words which may be felt by others,
engaged, like him, against slavery, "In all the vicissitudes of a long
life of public service, no circumstance has ever produced on my mind
such impressions of gratitude as the event of yesterday. _To have been
one of the humble instruments in the hands of divine Providence for
bringing to reason a ferocious government, and destroying forever the
insufferable and horrid system of Christian slavery, can never cease to
be a source of delight and heartfelt comfort to every individual happy
enough to be employed in it._"[127]

[Footnote 125: Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 340.]

[Footnote 126: Osler's Life of Exmouth, p. 342.]

[Footnote 127: Ibid. 432; Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 382.]


The reverses of Algiers did not end here. Christian slavery was
abolished; but, in 1830, the insolence of this barbarian government
aroused the vengeance of France to take military possession of the whole
country. Algiers capitulated, the Dey abdicated, and this considerable
state became a French colony.

Thus I have endeavored to present what I could glean in various fields
on the _history_ of Christian Slavery in the Barbary States. I have
often employed the words of others, as they seemed best calculated to
convey the exact idea of the scene, incident, or sentiment which I
wished to preserve. So doing, I have occupied much time; but I may find
my apology in the words of an English chronicler.[128] "Algier," he
says, "were altogether unworthy so long a discourse, _were not the
unworthinesse worthy our consideration_. I meane the cruell abuse of the
Christian name, which let us for inciting our zeale and exciting our
charitie and thankfulness more deeply weigh, to releeve those in
miseries, as we may, with our paynes, prayers, purses, and all the best

[Footnote 128: Purchas's Pilgrims, vol. ii. p. 1565.]

III. It is by a natural transition that I am now conducted to the
inquiry into the _true character_ of the evil whose history has been
traced. And here I shall be brief.

The slavery of Christians by the Barbary States is regarded as an
unquestionable outrage upon humanity and justice. Nobody hesitates in
this judgment. Our liveliest sympathies attend these white
brethren--torn from their homes, the ties of family and friendship
rudely severed, parent separated from child and husband from wife,
exposed at public sale like cattle, and dependent, like cattle, upon the
uncertain will of an arbitrary taskmaster. We read of a "gentleman" who
was compelled to be the valet of the barbarian Emperor of Morocco;[129]
and Calderon, the pride of the Spanish stage, has depicted the miserable
fate of a Portuguese prince, condemned by infidel Moors to carry water
in a garden. But the lowly in condition had their unrecorded sorrows
also, whose sum total must swell to a fearful amount. Who can tell how
many hearts have been wrung by the pangs of separation, how many crushed
by the comfortless despair of interminable bondage? "Speaking as a
Christian," says the good Catholic father who has chronicled much of
this misery, "if on the earth there can be any condition which, in its
character and evils, may represent in any manner the dolorous passion of
the Son of God, (which exceeded all evils and torments, because by it
the Lord suffered every kind of evil and affliction,) it is, beyond
question and doubt, none other than slavery and captivity in Algiers and
Barbary, whose infinite evils, terrible torments, miseries without
number, afflictions without mitigation, it is impossible to comprehend
in a brief span of time."[130] When we consider the author's character,
as a father of the Catholic Church, it will be felt that language can no
further go.

[Footnote 129: Braithwaite's Revolutions of Morocco, p. 233; Noah's
Travels, p. 367.]

[Footnote 130: Haedo, _Historia_, pp. 139, 140. Besides the
illustrations of the hardships of White Slavery already introduced, I
refer briefly to the following: Edinburgh Review, vol. xxvi. pp.
452-454; Croker's Letter, pp. 11-13; Quarterly Review, vol. xv. p. 145;
Eaton's Life, p. 100; Noah's Travels, p. 366.]


In nothing are the impiety and blasphemy of this custom more apparent
than in the auctions of human beings, where men were sold to the highest
bidder. Through the personal experience of a young English merchant,
Abraham Brown, afterwards a settler in Massachusetts, we may learn how
these were conducted. In 1655, before the liberating power of Cromwell
had been acknowledged, he was captured, together with a whole crew, and
carried into Sallee. His own words, in his memoirs still preserved, will
best tell his story.[131] "On landing," he says, "an exceeding great
company of most dismal spectators were led to behold us in our
captivated condition. There was liberty for all sorts to come and look
on us, that whosoever had a mind to buy any of us on the day appointed
for our sale together in the market, might see, as I may say, what they
would like to have for their money; whereby we had too many comfortless
visitors, both from the town and country, one saying he would buy this
man, and the other that. To comfort us, we were told by the Christian
slaves already there, if we met with such and such patrons, our usage
would not be so bad as we supposed; though, indeed, our men found the
usage of the best bad enough. Fresh victuals and bread were supplied, I
suppose to feed us up for the market, that we might be in some good
plight against the day we were to be sold. And now I come to speak of
our being sold into this doleful slavery. It was doleful in respect to
the time and manner. As to the time, it was on our Sabbath day, in the
morning, about the time the people of God were about to enjoy the
liberty of God's house; this was the time our bondage was confirmed.
Again, it was sad in respect to the manner of our selling. Being all of
us brought into the market-place, we were led about, two or three at a
time, in the midst of a great concourse of people, both from the town
and country, who had a full sight of us, and if that did not satisfy,
they would come and feel of your hand, and look into your mouth to see
whether you are sound in health, or to see, by the hardness of your
hand, whether you have been a laborer or not. The manner of buying is
this: He that bids the greatest price hath you; they bidding one upon
another until the highest has you for a slave, whoever he is, or
wherever he dwells. As concerning myself, being brought to the market in
the weakest condition of any of our men, I was led forth among the cruel
multitude to be sold. As yet being undiscovered what I was, I was like
to have been sold at a very low rate, not above £15 sterling, whereas
our ordinary seamen were sold for £30 and £35 sterling, and two boys
were sold for £40 apiece; and being in this sad posture led up and down
at least one hour and a half, during which time a Dutchman, that was our
carpenter, discovered me to some Jews, they increased from £15 to £75,
which was the price my patron gave for me, being 300 ducats; and had I
not been so weakened, and in these rags, (indeed, I made myself more so
than I was, for sometimes, as they led me, I pretended I could not go,
and did often sit down;) I say, had not these things been, in all
likelihood I had been sold for as much again in the market, and thus I
had been dearer, and the difficulty greater to be redeemed. During the
time of my being led up and down the market, I was possessed with the
greatest fears, not knowing who my patron might be. I feared it might be
one from the country, who would carry me where I could not return, or it
might be one in and about Sallee, of which we had sad accounts; and many
other distracting thoughts I had. And though I was like to have been
sold unto the most cruel man in Sallee, there being but one piece of
eight between him and my patron, yet the Lord was pleased to cause him
to buy me, of whom I may speak, to the glory of God, as the kindest man
in the place."

[Footnote 131: MS. Memoirs.]

This is the story of a respectable person, little distinguished in the
world. But the slave dealer applied his inexorable system without
distinction of persons. The experiences of St. Vincent de Paul did not
differ from those of Abraham Brown. That eminent character, admired,
beloved and worshipped by large circles of mankind, has also left a
record of his sale as a slave.[132] "Their proceedings," he says, "at
our sale were as follows: After we had been stripped, they gave to each
one of us a pair of drawers, a linen coat, with a cap, and paraded us
through the city of Tunis, where they had come expressly to sell us.
Having made us make five or six turns through the city, with the chain
at our necks, they conducted us back to the boat, that the merchants
might come to see who could eat well, and who not; and to show that our
wounds were not mortal. This done, they took us to the public square,
where the merchants came to visit us, precisely as they do at the
purchase of a horse or of cattle, making us open the mouth to see our
teeth, feeling our sides, searching our wounds, and making us move our
steps, trot and run, then lift burdens, and then wrestle, in order to
see the strength of each, and a thousand other sorts of brutalities."

[Footnote 132: _Biographie Universelle_, art. Vincent de Paul.]

And here we may refer again to Cervantes, whose pen was dipped in his
own dark experience. In his Life in Algiers, he has displayed the
horrors of the white slave market. The public crier exposes for sale a
father and mother with their two children. They are to be sold
separately, or, according to the language of our day, "in lots to suit
purchasers." The father is resigned, confiding in God; the mother sobs;
while the children, ignorant of the inhumanity of men, show an
instinctive trust in the constant and wakeful protection of their
parents--now, alas! impotent to shield them from dire calamity. A
merchant, inclining to purchase one of the "little ones," and wishing to
ascertain his bodily condition, causes him to open his mouth. The child,
still ignorant of the doom which awaits him, imagines that the inquirer
is about to extract a tooth, and, assuring him that it does not ache,
begs him to desist. The merchant, in other respects an estimable man,
pays one hundred and thirty dollars for the youngest child, and the sale
is completed. Thus a human being--one of those children of whom it has
been said, "Of such is the kingdom of heaven"--is profanely treated as
an article of merchandise, and torn far away from a mother's arms and a
father's support. The hardening influence of custom has steeled the
merchant into insensibility to this violation of humanity and justice,
this laceration of sacred ties, this degradation of the image of God.
The unconscious heartlessness of the slave dealer, and the anguish of
his victims, are depicted in the dialogue which ensues after the



    Come hither, child; 'tis time to go to rest.


    _Signor, I will not leave my mother here,
    To go with any one._


    _Alas! my child, thou art no longer mine,
    But his who bought thee._


    _What! then, have you, mother,
    Forsaken me?_


    _O Heavens! how cruel are ye!_


    _Come, hasten, boy._


    Will you go with me, brother?


    I cannot, Juan, 'tis not in my power;--
    May Heaven protect you, Juan!


    O my child,
    My joy and my delight, God won't forget thee!


    O father! mother! whither will they bear me
    Away from you?


    Permit me, worthy Signor,
    To speak a moment in my infant's ear.
    Grant me this small contentment; very soon
    I shall know nought but grief.


    What you would say,
    Say now; to-night is the last time.


    Is the first time my heart e'er felt such grief.


    _Pray keep me with you, mother, for I know not
    Whither he'd carry me._


    _Alas, poor child!
    Fortune forsook thee even at thy birth._
    The heavens are overcast, the elements
    Are turbid, and the very sea and winds
    Are all combined against me. _Thou, my child,
    Know'st not the dark misfortunes into which
    Thou art so early plunged, but happily
    Lackest the power to comprehend thy fate._
    What I would crave of thee, my life, since I
    Must never more be blessed with seeing thee,
    Is that thou never, never wilt forget
    To say, as thou wert wont, thy _Ave Mary_;
    For that bright queen of goodness, grace, and virtue
    Can loosen all thy bonds and give thee freedom.


    Behold the wicked Christian, how she counsels
    Her innocent child! You wish, then, that your child
    Should, like yourself, continue still in error.


    _O mother, mother, may I not remain?
    And must these Moors, then, carry me away?_


    _With thee, my child, they rob me of my treasures._


    O, I am much afraid!


    'Tis I, my child,
    Who ought to fear at seeing thee depart.
    Thou wilt forget thy God, me, and thyself.
    What else can I expect from thee, abandoned
    At such a tender age, amongst a people
    Full of deceit and all iniquity?


    _Silence, you villainous woman! if you would not
    Have your head pay for what your tongue has done._

[Footnote 133: This translation is borrowed from Sismondi's Literature
of the South of Europe, by Roscoe, vol. iii. p. 381. There is a letter
of "John Dunton, Mariner," addressed to the English Admiralty in 1637,
which might furnish the foundation of a similar scene. "For my only
son," he says, "is now a slave in Algier, and but ten years of age, and
like to be lost forever, without God's great mercy and the King's
clemency, which, I hope, may be in some manner obtained."--Osborne's
Voyages, vol. ii. p. 492.]

From this scene we gladly avert the countenance, while, from the bottom
of our hearts, we send our sympathies to the unhappy sufferers. Fain
would we avert their fate; fain would we destroy the system of slavery,
that has made them wretched and their masters cruel. And yet we would
not judge with harshness an Algerine slave owner. He has been reared in
a religion of slavery; he has learned to regard Christians, "guilty of a
skin not colored like his own," as lawful prey; and has found sanctions
for his conduct in the injunctions of the Koran, in the custom of his
country, and in the instinctive dictates of an imagined self-interest.
It is, then, the "peculiar institution" which we are aroused to
execrate, rather than the Algerine slave masters, who glory in its
influence, and,

              so perfect is their misery,
    Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
    But boast themselves more comely than before.

But there is reason to believe that the sufferings of the white slaves
were not often greater than is the natural incident of slavery. There is
an important authority which presents this point in an interesting
light. It is that of General Eaton, for some time consul of the United
States at Tunis, and whose name is not without note in the painful
annals of war. In a letter to his wife, dated at Tunis, April 6, 1799,
and written amidst opportunities of observation such as few have
enjoyed, he briefly describes the condition of this unhappy class,
illustrating it by a comparison less flattering to our country than to
Barbary. "Many of the Christian slaves," he says, "have died of grief,
and the others linger out a life less tolerable than death. Alas!
remorse seizes my whole soul, when I reflect that this is, indeed, a
copy of the very barbarity which my eyes have seen in my own native
country. And yet we boast of liberty and national justice. How
frequently have I seen in the Southern States of our own country weeping
mothers leading guiltless infants to the sales with as deep anguish as
if they led them to the slaughter, and yet felt my bosom tranquil in the
view of these aggressions upon defenceless humanity! But when I see the
same enormities practised upon beings whose complexion and blood claim
kindred with my own, I curse the perpetrators, and weep over the
wretched victims of their rapacity. _Indeed, truth and justice demand
from me the confession that the Christian slaves among the barbarians of
Africa are treated with more humanity than the African slaves among the
professing Christians of civilized America_; and yet here sensibility
bleeds at every pore for the wretches whom fate has doomed to

[Footnote 134: Eaton's Life, p. 145.]

Such testimony would seem to furnish a decisive standard or measure of
comparison by which to determine the character of White Slavery in the
Barbary States. But there are other considerations and authorities. One
of these is the influence of the religion of these barbarians.
Travellers remark the generally kind treatment bestowed by Mohammedans
upon slaves.[135] The lash rarely, if ever, lacerates the back of the
female; the knife or branding iron is not employed upon any human being
to mark him as the property of his fellow-man. Nor is the slave doomed,
as in other countries, where the Christian religion is professed, to
unconditional and perpetual service, without prospect of _redemption_.
Hope, the last friend of misfortune, may brighten his captivity. He is
not so walled around by inhuman institutions as to be inaccessible to
freedom. "And unto such of your slaves," says the Koran, in words worthy
of adoption in the legislation of Christian countries, "as desire a
written instrument, allowing them to redeem themselves on paying a
certain sum, write one, if ye know good in them, and give them of the
riches of God, which he hath given you."[136] Thus from the Koran, which
ordains slavery, come lessons of benignity to the slave; and one of the
most touching stories in Mohammedanism is of the generosity of Ali, the
companion of the Prophet, who, after fasting for three days, gave his
whole provision to a captive not more famished than himself.[137]

[Footnote 135: Wilson's Travels, p. 93; Edinburgh Review, vol. xxxviii.
p. 403; Noah's Travels, p. 302; Quarterly Review, vol. xv. p. 168;
Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 77.]

[Footnote 136: Sale's Koran, chap. 24, vol. ii. p. 194. The right of
redemption was recognized by the Gentoo laws. Halhed's Code, cap. 8, §
1, 2. It was unknown in the British West Indies while slavery existed
there. Stephens on West India Slavery, vol. ii. pp. 378-384. It is also
unknown in the Slave States of our country.]

[Footnote 137: Sales's Koran, vol. ii. p. 474, note.]

Such precepts and examples doubtless had their influence in Algiers. It
is evident, from the history of the country, that the prejudice of race
did not so far prevail as to stamp upon the slaves and their descendants
any indelible mark of exclusion from power and influence. It often
happened that they arrived at eminent posts in the state. The seat of
the Deys, more than once, was filled by humble Christian captives, who
had tugged for years at the oar.[138]

[Footnote 138: Haedo, _Historia de Argel_, p. 122; Quarterly Review,
vol. xv. pp. 169, 172; Shaler's Sketches of Algiers, p. 77; Short
Account of Algiers, pp. 22, 25. It seems to have been supposed, that,
according to the Koran, the condition of slavery ceased when the party
became a Mussulman. Penny Cyclopædia, art. _Slavery_; Noah's Travels, p.
302; Shaler's Sketches, p. 69. In point of fact, freedom generally
followed conversion; but I do not find any injunction on the subject in
the Koran.]

Nor do we feel, from the narratives of captives and of travellers, that
the condition of the Christian slave was rigorous beyond the ordinary
lot of slavery. "The Captive's Story" in Don Quixote fails to impress
the reader with any peculiar horror of the life from which he had
escaped. It is often said that the sufferings of Cervantes were among
the most severe which even Algiers could inflict.[139] But they did not
repress the gayety of his temper; and we learn that in the building
where he was confined there was a chapel or oratory, in which mass was
celebrated, the sacrament administered, and sermons regularly preached
by captive priests.[140] Nor was this all. The pleasures of the theatre
were enjoyed by these slaves; and the farces of Lopé de Rueda, a
favorite Spanish dramatist of the time, served, in actual
representation, to cheer this house of bondage.[141]

[Footnote 139: _De los peores que en Argel auia._ Haedo, _Historia de
Argel_, p. 85; Navarrete, _Vida de Cervantes_, p. 361.]

[Footnote 140: Roscoe's life of Cervantes, p. 303.]

[Footnote 141: _Baños de Argel._]

The experience of the devoted Portuguese ecclesiastic, Father Thomas,
illustrates this lot. A slave in Morocco, he was able to minister to his
fellow-slaves, and to compose a work on the Passion of Jesus Christ,
which has been admired for its unction, and translated into various
tongues. At last liberated through the intervention of the Portuguese
ambassador, he chose to remain behind, notwithstanding the solicitations
of relatives at home, that he might continue to instruct and console the
unhappy men, his late companions in bonds.[142]

[Footnote 142: _Biographie Universelle_, art. Thomas de Jesus; Digby's
Board Stone of Honor, Tancredus, § 9, p. 181.]

Even the story of St. Vincent de Paul, so brutally sold in the public
square, is not without its gleams of light. He was bought by a
fisherman, who was soon constrained to get rid of him, "having nothing
so contrary except the sea." He then passed into the hands of an old
man, whom he pleasantly describes as a chemical doctor, a sovereign
maker of quintessences, very humane and kind, who had labored for the
space of fifty years in search of the philosopher's stone. "He loved me
much," says the fugitive slave, "and pleased himself by discoursing to
me of alchemy, and then of his religion, to which he made every effort
to draw me, promising me riches and all his wisdom." On the death of
this master, he passed to a nephew, by whom he was sold to still another
person, a renegade from Nice, who took him to the mountains, where the
country was extremely hot and desert. A Turkish wife of the renegade
becoming interested in him, and curious to know his manner of life at
home, visited him daily at his work in the fields, and listened with
delight to the slave, away from his country and the churches of his
religion, as he sang the psalm of the children of Israel in a foreign
land: "By the rivers of Babylon there we sat down; yea, we wept when we
remembered Zion."[143]

[Footnote 143: _Biographie Universelle_, art. Vincent de Paul.]


The kindness of the slave master often appears. The English merchant
Abraham Brown, whose sale at Sallee has been already described, makes
known, in his memoirs, that, after he had been carried to the house of
his master, his wounds were tenderly washed and dressed by his master's
wife, and "indeed the whole family gave him comfortable words." He was
furnished with a mat to lie on, "and some three or four days after
provided with a shirt, such a one as it was, a pair of shoes, and an old
doublet." His servile toils troubled him less than "being commanded by a
negro man, who had been a long time in his patron's house a freeman, at
whose beck and command he was obliged to be obedient for the doing of
the least about the house or mill;" and he concludes his lament on this
degradation as follows: "Thus I, who had commanded many men in several
parts of the world, must now be commanded by a negro, who, with his two
countrywomen in the house, scorned to drink out of the water pot I drank
of, whereby I was despised of the despised people of the world."[144]

[Footnote 144: MS. Memoirs.]

At a later day we are furnished with another authentic picture. Captain
Braithwaite, who accompanied the British minister to Morocco in 1727, in
order to procure the liberation of the British captives, after
describing their comfortable condition, adds, "I am sure we saw several
captives who lived much better in Barbary than ever they did in their
own country. Whatever money in charity was sent them by their friends in
Europe was their own, unless they defrauded one another, which has
happened much oftener than by the Moors. Several of them are rich, and
many have carried considerable sums out of the country, to the truth of
which we are all witnesses. Several captives keep their mules, and some
their servants; and yet this is called insupportable slavery among Turks
and Moors. But we found this, as well as many other things in this
country, strangely misrepresented."[145]

[Footnote 145: Braithwaite's Revolutions in Morocco, p. 353.]

These statements--which, to those who do not place freedom above all
price, may seem, at first view, to take the sting even from slavery--are
not without support from other sources. Colonel Keatinge, who, as a
member of a diplomatic mission from England, visited Morocco in 1785,
says of this evil there, that "it is very slightly inflicted, and as to
any labor undergone, it does not deserve the name;"[146] while Mr.
Lemprière, who was in the same country not long afterwards, adds, "To
the disgrace of Europe, the Moors treat their slaves with
humanity."[147] In Tripoli, we are told, by a person for ten years a
resident, that the same gentleness prevailed. "It is a great alleviation
to our feelings," says the writer, speaking of the slaves, "to see them
easy and well dressed, and, so far from wearing chains, as captives do
in most other places, they are perfectly at liberty."[148] We have
already seen the testimony of General Eaton with regard to slavery in
Tunis; while Mr. Noah, one of his successors in the consulate of the
United States at that place, says, "In Tunis, from my observation, the
slaves are not severely treated; they are very useful, and many of them
have made money."[149] And Mr. Shaler, describing the chief seat of
Christian slavery, says, "In short, there were slaves who left Algiers
with regret."[150]

[Footnote 146: Keatinge's Travels, p. 250; Quarterly Review, vol. xv. p.
146. See also Chenier's Present State of Morocco, vol. i. p. 192; ii. p.

[Footnote 147: Lemprière's Tour, p. 290. See also pp. 3, 147, 190, 279.]

[Footnote 148: Narrative of Ten Years' Residence at Tripoli, p. 241.]

[Footnote 149: Noah's Travels, p. 368.]

[Footnote 150: Shaler's Sketches, p. 77.]

A French writer of more recent date asserts with some vehemence, and
with the authority of an eye witness, that the Christian slaves at
Algiers were not exposed to the miseries which they represented. I do
not know that he vindicates their slavery, but, like Captain
Braithwaite, he evidently regards many of them as better off than they
would be at home. According to him, they were well clad and well fed,
_much better than the free Christians there_. The youngest and most
comely were taken as pages by the Dey. Others were employed in the
barracks; others in the galleys; but even here there was a chapel, as in
the time of Cervantes, for the free exercise of the Christian religion.
Those who happened to be artisans, as carpenters, locksmiths, and
calkers, were let to the owners of vessels. Others were employed on the
public works; while others still were allowed the privilege of keeping a
shop, in which their profits were sometimes so large as to enable them
at the end of a year to purchase their ransom. But these were often
known to become indifferent to freedom, and to prefer Algiers to their
own country. The slaves of private persons were sometimes employed in
the family of their master, where their treatment necessarily depended
much upon his character. If he were gentle and humane, their lot was
fortunate; they were regarded as children of the house. If he were harsh
and selfish, then the iron of slavery did, indeed, enter their souls.
Many were bought to be sold again for profit into distant parts of the
country, where they were doomed to exhausting labor; in which event
their condition was most grievous. But special care was bestowed upon
all who became ill--not so much, it is admitted, from humanity as
through fear of losing them.[151]

[Footnote 151: _Histoire d'Alger: Description de ce Royaume, etc., de
ses Forces de Terre et de Mer, Moeurs et Costumes des Habitans, des
Mores, des Arabes, des Juifs, des Chrétiens, de ses Lois, etcs._ (Paris,
1830,) chap. 27.]

But, whatever deductions may be made from the familiar stories of White
Slavery in the Barbary States,--admitting that it was mitigated by the
genial influence of Mohammedanism,--that the captives were well clad and
well fed, much better than the free Christians there,--that they were
allowed opportunities of Christian worship,--that they were often
treated with lenity and affectionate care,--that they were sometimes
advanced to posts of responsibility and honor,--and that they were
known, in their contentment or stolidity, to become indifferent to
freedom,--still the institution or custom is hardly less hateful in our
eyes. Slavery in all its forms, even under the mildest influences, is a
wrong and a curse. No accidental gentleness of the master can make it
otherwise. Against it reason, experience, the heart of man, all cry out.
"Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, Slavery! thou art a bitter
draught! and though thousands in all ages have been made to drink of
thee, thou art no less bitter on that account." Algerine Slavery was a
violation of the law of nature and of God. It was a usurpation of rights
not granted to man.

    O execrable son, so to aspire
    Above his brethren, to himself assuming
    Authority usurped, from God not given!
    He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl,
    Dominion absolute; that right we hold
    By his donation; but man over men
    He made not lord, such title to himself
    Reserving, human left from human free.[152]

Such a relation, in defiance of God, could not fail to accumulate
disastrous consequences upon all in any way parties to it; for injustice
and wrong are fatal alike to the doer and the sufferer. It is notorious
that, in Algiers, it exerted a most pernicious influence on master as
well as slave. The slave was crushed and degraded, his intelligence
abased, even his love of freedom extinguished. The master, accustomed
from childhood to revolting inequalities of condition, was exalted into
a mood of unconscious arrogance and self-confidence, inconsistent with
the virtues of a pure and upright character. Unlimited power is apt to
stretch towards license; and the wives and daughters of Christian slaves
were often pressed to be the concubines of their Algerine masters.[153]

[Footnote 152: Paradise Lost, book xii. 64-71.]

[Footnote 153: Noah's Travels, p. 248, 253; Quarterly Review, vol. xv.
p. 168. Among the concubines of a prince of Morocco were two slaves of
the age of fifteen, one of English, and the other of French extraction.
Lemprière's Tour, p. 147. There is an account of the fate of "one Mrs.
Shaw, an Irish woman," in words hardly polite enough to be quoted. She
was swept into the harem of Muley Ishmael, who "forced her to turn
Moor;" "but soon after, having taken a dislike to her, he gave her to a
soldier."--Braithwaite's Morocco, p. 191.]

It is well, then, that it has passed away! The Barbary States seem less
barbarous, when we no longer discern this cruel oppression!

But the story of slavery there is not yet all told. While the Barbary
States received white slaves by sea, stolen by corsairs, they also, from
time immemorial, imported black slaves from the south. Over the vast,
illimitable sea of sand, in which is absorbed their southern
border,--traversed by camels, those "ships of the desert,"--were brought
those unfortunate beings, as merchandise, with gold dust and ivory,
doomed often to insufferable torments, while cruel thirst parched
the lips, and tears vainly moistened the eyes. They also were ravished
from their homes, and, like their white brethren from the north,
compelled to taste of slavery. In numbers they have far surpassed
their Christian peers. But for long years no pen or voice pleaded
their cause; nor did the Christian nations--professing a religion
which teaches universal humanity, without respect of persons, and
sends the precious sympathies of neighborhood to all who suffer, even
at the farthest pole--ever interfere in any way in their behalf. The
navy of Great Britain, by the throats of their artillery, argued the
freedom of all _fellow-Christians_, without distinction of _nation_;
but they heeded not the slavery of other brethren in bonds--Mohammedans
or idolaters, children of the same Father in heaven. Lord Exmouth did
but half his work. In confining the stipulation to the abolition of
Christian slavery only, this Abolitionist made a discrimination, which,
whether founded on religion or color, was selfish and unchristian. Here,
again, was the same inconsistency which darkened the conduct of Charles
the Fifth, and has constantly recurred throughout the history of this
outrage. Forgetful of the Brotherhood of the Race, Christian powers
have deemed the slavery of blacks just and proper, while the slavery
of whites has been branded as unjust and sinful.


As the British fleet sailed proudly from the harbor of Algiers, bearing
its emancipated white slaves, and the express stipulation, that
Christian slavery was abolished there forever, it left behind in bondage
large numbers of blacks, distributed throughout all the Barbary States.
Neglected thus by exclusive and unchristian Christendom, it is pleasant
to know that their lot is not always unhappy. In Morocco, negroes are
still detained as slaves; but the prejudice of color seems not to
prevail there. They have been called "the grand cavaliers of this part
of Barbary."[154] They often become the chief magistrates and rulers of
cities.[155] They constituted the body guard of several of the emperors,
and, on one occasion at least, exercised the prerogative of the
Prætorian cohorts, in dethroning their master.[156] If negro slavery
still exists in this state, it has little of the degradation connected
with it elsewhere. Into Algiers France has already carried the benign
principle of law--earlier recognized by her than by the English
courts[157]--which secures freedom to all beneath its influence. And now
we are cheered anew by the glad tidings recently received, that the Bey
of Tunis, "for the glory of God, and to distinguish man from the brute
creation," has decreed the total abolition of human slavery throughout
his dominions.

[Footnote 154: Braithwaite's Morocco, p. 350. See also Quarterly Review,
vol. xv. p. 168.]

[Footnote 155: Braithwaite, p. 222.]

[Footnote 156: Ibid. p. 381.]

[Footnote 157: Somersett's case, first declaring this principle, was
decided in 1772. M. Schoell says, that "this fine maxim has always
obtained" in France.--_Histoire Abrégée des Traités de Paix_, tom. xi.
p. 178. By the royal ordinance 1318, it was declared, that "all men are
born free (_francs_) by nature; and that the kingdom of the French
(_Francs_) should be so in reality as in name." But this "fine maxim"
was not recognized in France so completely as M. Schoell asserts. See
Encyclopédie, (de Diderot et de D'Alembert,) art. _Esclavage_.]

Let us, then, with hope and confidence, turn to the Barbary States! The
virtues and charities do not come singly. Among them is a common bond,
stronger than that of science or knowledge. Let one find admission, and
a goodly troop will follow. Nor is it unreasonable to anticipate other
improvements in states which have renounced a long-cherished system of
White Slavery, while they have done much to abolish or mitigate the
slavery of others not white, and to overcome the inhuman prejudice of
color. The Christian nations of Europe first declared, and practically
enforced, within their own European dominions, the vital truth of
freedom, that man cannot hold property in his brother man. Algiers and
Tunis, like Saul of Tarsus, have been turned from the path of
persecution, and now receive the same faith. Algiers and Tunis now help
to plead the cause of Freedom. Such a cause is in sacred fellowship with
all those principles which promote the Progress of Man. And who can tell
that this despised portion of the globe is not destined to yet another
restoration? It was here in Northern Africa that civilization was first
nursed, that commerce early spread her white wings, that Christianity
was taught by the honeyed lips of Augustine. All these are again
returning to their ancient home. Civilization, commerce, and
Christianity once more shed their benignant influences upon the land to
which they have long been strangers. A new health and vigor now animate
its exertions. Like its own giant Antæus,--whose tomb is placed by
tradition among the hillsides of Algiers,--it has been often felled to
the earth, but it now rises with renewed strength, to gain yet higher


       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcribers' Note: Delivered as a Lecture before the Boston Mercantile
Library Association, February 17, 1847; this illustrated version
published in 1853.--Spelling varieties as in "stanch" (staunch) have
been maintained.--This text uses _underscores_ to indicate italic

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