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Title: A dissuasion to Great-Britain and the colonies, from the slave trade to Africa
Author: Swan, James G.
Language: English
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                                FROM THE

                              SLAVE TRADE.





                                AND THE


                                FROM THE

                         SLAVE TRADE TO AFRICA.


The Contradiction this Trade bears, both to Laws divine and provincial;
the Disadvantages arising from it, and Advantages from abolishing it,
both to EUROPE and AFRICA, particularly to BRITAIN and the Plantations.

                             ALSO SHEWING,

             How to put this Trade to AFRICA on a just and
                            lawful Footing.

                             By JAMES SWAN,

              A Native of GREAT-BRITAIN, and Friend to the
                       Welfare of this CONTINENT.

                              BOSTON: NE.

        Printed by E. RUSSELL, near the New Intelligence-Office
               and Auction-room, and next the Cornfield,





It is to you I dedicate this Treatise, and beg your protection of the
same, hoping it will meet with a kind reception.

The approbation men of character and sense have given the following
Work, has made me venture it into your hands: And I hope in the perusal
you will keep in view the Author, I am certain you cannot then fail
of making great allowances. I am a _North-Briton_! And when you know
that, it alone may be judged by some, sufficient to brand me with the
hateful name of _Tory_, and thereby condemn this Dissuasion. But let
me inform you (for there is no general rule without an exception) that
I am a most sincere well-wisher to the common cause of _Liberty_, both
_personal_ and _constitutional_; then you will, give me a place in the
list of your staunch Friends, and accept of this Attempt, as intended
to be a mean of abolishing one great part of _Slavery_ here.

If there is any merit in endeavouring to set free from _Bondage_ our
fellow creatures, and in trying to promote the good and welfare of any
nation, province, country, or individual, surely I may claim it; for
my sincere endeavour is to these purposes: And if I should happen to
miss my aim, I shall sit down satisfied with the merit of a good intent.

Readers, I have but one favour to ask of you, which is, to peruse
this Performance with an open unbiassed mind; overlooking any defects
you may observe in these sheets, knowing they are the hasty and
undigested thoughts of the Author, put together with more good intent
than ability; after this you may either reject or practise, according
to your own consciences, and the light of this Treatise, if there
is any to be found in it. _Enslaving_ your fellow men, and using
and massacring them as they do in the _West-Indies_ and Southern
Provinces, is a matter of too great importance to be only slightly
thought of. And as I hope you have the _humanity_ of _Britons_, and
that _love of Liberty_, with which every true _Englishman_ is, or ought
to be possessed of, you will not countenance it, but declare yourselves
as I do, _well-wishers of the British Empire, and consequently enemies
to_ Slavery.

Accept then, Friends and Brethren in one common cause, this small token
of that love and veneration which I bear to freedom, (for no country
can be called free where there is one Slave) and give me leave to
subscribe myself,

                                                         Your Friend and
                                                         humble Servant,

                                                             JAMES SWAN.



I had not well arrived in _America_, when casting my eyes on so many
Black Slaves, I immediately found a warm inclination arise in my
breast, to do my endeavours for relieving them by publishing to the
world my sentiments upon their state.

Scarce had I time to draw a breath of this air, before I immediately
applied myself to enquire into the state of this _Slavery_, and the
constitution upon which it is founded, and having met with proper
preliminaries by way of foundation for a small Treatise, I set myself
to work in forming, and in short finished this Pamphlet.

From the consideration of the smallness of this production, and my
inability to treat the subject properly, I was nigh resolving not
to prefix my name hereto: But thinking again, some opposite party
might take hold of that, I thought it most proper to shew my common
signature, knowing the cause I defend is good and well founded.

Some will no doubt be surprised that I have wrote this Dissuasion after
the form of a Sermon: It is easily accounted for. A Sermon being _a
discourse of instruction pronounced by a Divine for the edification
of the people_. I am no Divine nor ever expect to be; but I hope that
is no reason why these sheets should not be of publick benefit, as my
design was for that end; I chose to write it in this form, as being the
truest way to display with perspicuity and plainness the unlawfulness,
_&c._ of the Slave Trade, for which purpose I have attempted it in
different heads and branches, in some of which are contained many
pertinent remarks or observations on this inhuman Commerce; and I
thought further, it was the easiest method for myself, and plainest for
my Readers; it being intended for the weakest and highest capacities.

It may be objected by some, that the writings on this subject are too
numerous already. I answer, that however many there may be extant,
(although I could find but very few) yet there are none so full as not
to admit of amendments or improvements: If so, and that these may not
altogether be of inconsiderable use to mankind, why may not I make
them? and why may they not be transmitted to mankind?

A Treatise of this kind may not be unnecessary, notwithstanding many
Books, Pamphlets, and Letters have been published on the subject.

But however ineffectual this Treatise may prove hereafter among men,
this I comfort myself with, it is as full, considering the largeness,
as any upon the subject which I have seen; and there are few arguments
that possibly could be advanced, or citations drawn from Scripture
concerning man-selling, _&c._ that have escaped, in trying to wean men
from this base and inhuman trade. And in fine, if this Work meets with
encouragement equal to the Author’s care and endeavours to make it the
most useful of the kind, by having the desired effect he shall esteem
himself sufficiently rewarded.

With regard to the Dissuasion, I leave the Reader to judge, after
having read it over cooly and impartially, whether it ought to be
approved or disapproved; if the former, it will no doubt meet with his
protection in publick. But I have something to ask, which I beg may not
be refused, and that is, if you have not a fund of patience laid up
in store, before you begin to peruse it, you are requested to lay it
aside, until you have.

There is one small part of it taken from _Postlethwayt_’s Dictionary
of Commerce. Another part from _A. Benezett_’s Caution to
_Great-Britain_ and her Colonies, both which Authors I am very glad
were born before me, they having assisted me so far. And with regard to
the remaining part, I can tell where it came from.

As it is necessary in order to bring about a change in any,
particularly a publick affair, to touch the minds of the people with
a just and true sense of the unlawfulness of the thing wanted to be
removed, that to the end they may be unanimous in the abolishment
thereof; this Dissuasion I am convinced you will find upon perusal, is
calculated for that purpose, and am very sensible, that it alone never
can strike the great blow without the legislative force added to it.

I will detain you no longer; indeed I have almost run into an
Introduction amidst this Preface: But it could not well be otherwise,
the connexion between them was so great, and had I separated them, I
should have incurred your displeasure, by increasing the Prolegomenas
to a degree larger than the Dissuasion itself.

                                                                   J. S.



The subject of which these few sheets treat, would have been one of
the last I should have ventured upon; had not the delusion of the men
who are concerned in enslaving the people called _Negroes_ appeared
so glaring, and the contradiction that the _Slave Trade_ bears to
Christianity, prompted me to it.

I shall be as cool and impartial in treating of this matter, as
any British subject or Christian can: But why do I say cool? It is
impossible I should speak cooly of such base, unchristian, and inhuman
practices, in a land of Liberty and Christianity: However, in case
any thing should be mentioned in the sequel that may give unintended
offence to any person, I hope the tender feelings for these distressed
Captives, with which I am possessed, and the warmth that is in my
breast, to have this Trade abolished, will be sufficient excuse.

I propose dividing the following Treatise into these different heads.

I. Shew, that this custom of making Slaves of our fellow-men, is
expressly against the revealed laws of God.

II. That it is likewise against the law of nature, and the Charter of
this Province.

III. The disadvantages arising from this base Trade.

IV. The advantages arising from abolishing it. And,

V. Conclude with a short admonition to those concerned, and a method to
put the Trade to _Africa_ on a just and lawful footing.

The first head was, That the custom of making Slaves of our fellow
creatures, is expressly against the revealed laws of GOD. And in
treating of this part, I shall divide it into the following branches.
1st. By the laws of GOD, _He that stealeth and selleth a man, shall
be put to death_. 2d. _He in whose hands he shall be found, shall be
put to death_, by the same laws. 3d. _He that buyeth a Servant and
serveth him six years, shall set him free the seventh, and furnish him
liberally with what he hath._ And 4th. _If thy Brother_, that is, your
fellow-creature, _be sold unto thee, thou shall not compel him to
serve as a Bond-man; but as an hired Servant_.

The first branch under this head is, _He that stealeth and selleth
a man, shall be put to death_. This is one of the most express laws
of _Moses_, as you may see in _Exod._ xxi. 16, two first, and last
clauses of the verse, there mentioned in the most peremptory words;
_And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, shall surely be put
to death._ It certainly can be looked upon in no other light in the
Merchants and Ship-masters who are in this Trade to _Africa_, than
stealing of men, being accessary to, and aiding in inciting them
to war one with another, and for this purpose, supplying them with
prodigious quantities of arms and ammunition, whereby they are hurried
into confusion, bloodshed, and all the extremities of temporal misery,
which must consequently beget in their minds such a general detestation
and scorn of the Christian name, as may deeply affect, if not wholly
preclude, their belief of the great truths of our holy religion. Thus
an insatiable desire of gain prevails with their Kings, who, instead of
being protectors of their people, for this alluring bait laid before
them, by the _European_ and _American_ Factors, or Ship-masters, invade
the Liberties of these unhappy people, and occasion their oppression.
These Kings, whenever they want goods send to the Ship-masters,
acquainting them they have Negroes, and sometimes the Factors and
Ship-masters send to acquaint them, that they have a quantity of goods,
and want Slaves for the same. These Chiefs, whether they have Slaves
then or not, agree, and immediately go to war with their neighbours,
and in procuring three or four hundred prisoners, burn five or six
towns, as appears by the following extract from a Surgeon’s Journal in
a _Liverpool_ vessel.

                                            _Sestro, December 29, 1724._

“No trade to-day, though many Traders came on board; they inform us,
that the people are gone to war within land, and will bring prisoners
enough in two or three days; in hopes of which we stay.

“30th. No trade yet; but our Traders came on board to-day and informed
us the people had burnt four towns, so that to-morrow we expect Slaves

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

“The 2d of _January_. Last night we saw a prodigious fire break out
about eleven o’clock, and this morning saw the town of _Sestro_ burnt
down to the ground, (it contained some hundred houses) so that we find
their enemies are too hard for them at present; consequently our trade
spoiled here, so that about seven o’clock we weighed anchor, as did
also the three other vessels, to proceed lower down.”

Here follows another relation taken from an original Journal of a
Surgeon who sailed out of _New-York_, “Being on the Coast of _Guinea_
at a place called _Basalia_, the Commander of the vessel, according to
custom, sent a person on shore, with a present to the King, acquainting
him with his arrival, and informing him they wanted a cargo of Slaves.
The King promised to furnish them, and in order to do it, set out to
war against his enemies; designing also to surprise some town, and
take all the people prisoners: Some time after, the King sent them
word, he had not yet met with the desired success, having been twice
repulsed in attempting to break up two towns; but that he still hoped
to procure a number of Slaves for them, and in this design persisted,
until he met his enemies in the field, where a battle was fought, which
lasted three days, during which time, the engagement was so bloody that
four thousand five hundred men were slain on the spot. Think (says
he) what a pitiful sight it was to see the Widows weeping over their
lost Husbands, Orphans deploring the loss of their Fathers, _&c._” Oh!
shocking spectacles! to see four or five towns burnt, and four thousand
five hundred people killed, for the sake of taking three or four
hundred, and you! you! Merchants, Ship-masters and Factors the cause
of it all! Think you ever to get the crime of spilling so much blood
repented of?

It is a known custom among the Factors who reside in _Africa_, and the
Ship-masters who trade there, to corrupt many Negroes on the sea coast,
who stop at no act of cruelty for gain. They make it a practice, to
steal abundance of little Blacks of both sexes, when found on the
roads, or in the fields, where their Parents keep them all day to watch
the corn, _&c._ Can it be denied that the _Africans_ are _stolen_
after so many proofs of it, and if it is not direct stealth in the
Ship-masters, _&c._ yet it is the same in effect; for if they did not
go there and entice the Chiefs with money or goods, there would be no
wars, as is the case at present; and there would be none stolen if
the stealers were not bribed by the Factors or Ship-masters; and not
only those that are made Slaves of, there would still be ten thousand
others who are killed in the broils, that would be saved, were they to
discontinue this base Trade.

Thus far I have shewn that they are stolen. They may say they pay for
them. I answer, they give money or goods by way of price to some of the
Princes and Negroes, who, for the sake of lucre, take them prisoners by
war or stealth, so that what money they give these scoundrels, (forgive
me the expression; for, what name can a man expect who would take his
Father or Brother and sell then for gain?) who take them in these
ways cannot be looked upon as a price paid in lieu, for the Negroes
themselves never condescend to be mancipated, as they get none of the
money that is pretendedly given for them. They at length arrive at the
port, the Ship-master sell them at a most exorbitant profit, and in a
few voyages he makes what he calls his fortune; this is all he aimed
at and wished for; and what follows, secures his eternal destruction,
unless timely repented of: For the truth of this, I could mention very
striking instances of men, who I see almost every day; but I do not
chuse mentioning names, for fear of seeing them contemned and despised
by every well thinking person.

I need add no more on this branch, it being clear that they are stolen
in every sense it can be taken; they, the Ship-masters, _&c._ being
the sole cause of the many wars and broils that are amongst the Negro
Princes and Chiefs, consequently the cause of these poor creatures
being taken and made Slaves of, and of the many thousands that are
killed in the wars: Besides, it is not, nor can be denied that they
sell them, so that they who practise this branch of Man-stealing and
selling can expect nothing but the penalties of GOD’s laws, which he,
in his own time, will inflict, since man! indolent man! will not punish
them with death, as warranted sufficiently by the above cited passage
in holy writ.

Before I leave this branch it may not be improper to give my Readers
a short sketch of the barbarous usage these unhappy people meet with
from the Ship-masters in their passage from _Africa_. After they
have got them on board shackled two and two together, they keep them
confined below all the passage, never permitting more than two on deck
at a time to take one breath of fresh air, the most common blessing we
enjoy, conscious that they are doing wrong to these people, and not
certain but GOD might raise them against the Ship-master and his crew,
if they had the least opportunity to stir up an insurrection in the
ship, to retrieve their Liberty which they had in their own country,
and which they ought to enjoy by the laws of GOD, of _Britain_, and the

For the Reader’s true satisfaction as to this inhuman and unchristian
usage, which could be expected of no other than Barbarians, I shall
here narrate some accounts which have been given by men concerned in
the Slave Trade.

First, the following case is mentioned in _Astley_’s Collection
of Voyages, by _John Atkins_, Surgeon on board Admiral _Ogle_’s
squadron, “Of one _Harding_, Master of a vessel, in which several of
the Men-slaves and a Woman-slave had attempted to rise in order to
recover their Liberty; some of whom the Master of his own authority
sentenced to cruel deaths, making them first eat the hearts and liver
of one of those he killed. The woman he hoisted by the thumbs, whiped,
and slashed with knives before other Slaves, until she died.” Oh
unparralelled cruelty!

Next is an account given by a Ship-master who brought a Cargo of
Slaves to _Barbadoes_, upon an enquiry what had been the success of
the voyage, he answered, “That he had found it a difficult matter to
set the Negroes a fighting with each other in order to procure the
number he wanted.” This shews, Reader, what methods they practise to
obtain these Slaves, _by setting them a fighting with each other_. “But
when he had obtained his end, having filled his vessel with Slaves, a
new difficulty arose from their refusal to take food: Those desperate
creatures chusing rather to die with hunger than to be carried from
their native country.” Upon a further enquiry how he got them to forego
this desperate resolution, he answered, “That he obliged all the
Negroes to come on deck, where they persisting in their resolution of
not taking food, he caused his sailors to lay hold on one of the most
obstinate, who chopped the poor creature into small pieces, forcing
some of the others to eat a part of the mangled body; swearing to
the survivors, that he would use them all one after the other in the
same manner if they did not consent to eat.” This horrid execution he
applauded as a good act, it having had the desired effect in causing
them to take food.

As detestable and shocking as these usages to the poor Negroes may
appear to such whose hearts are not yet hardened by the practise of
that cruelty which the love of wealth by degrees introduceth into the
human mind, it will not be strange to those who have been concerned or
employed in the Trade.

The second branch was, _If he be found in his hands, he surely shall
be put to death_. This is the third and fourth clause of the before
cited verse in _Exod._ _If he be found in his hands_. This is to be
understood in two senses, either found in the Ship-master’s hands
who stole him, or bought, as he says, or in the person’s hands who
purchases him. As to the first of these senses in which this passage
may be taken, if the laws of GOD, yea, even of man, were to be put into
execution, he, the stealer, or even the buyer, would be punished with
death, for it is clear as to Man-stealing, that it deserves death,
by the above passage of Scripture, and it is no less with regard to
buying: But why do I say buying? For no money can be equal to the
worth of a man: Buying, I admit that word because Ship-masters and
others in this Trade, say, for their justification that they purchased
the Negroes, but as there are no laws, either of GOD or man, for the
buying and stealing of _Africans_, I am inclined to think it cannot
be supposed, but they justly deserve death. And in the second sense,
the man who buys the _Africans_ or Negroes is full as culpable as the
stealer, and liable to the same punishment, for Scripture does not
point out particularly either of them, but only just, _If he be found
in his hands_, that is, in any man’s hands, so that it can be proved he
stole or bought him, _he surely shall be put to death_.

The third part was, _He that buyeth a Servant and serveth him six
years, shall set him free the seventh, and furnish him liberally
with what he hath_. The first part of this branch is proved in three
different texts, _viz._ _Exod._ xxi. 2. _Deut._ xv. 12. and _Jer._
xxxiv. 14. In all which parts it is expressly mentioned, _That if an_
Hebrew _Servant be sold unto thee_, or if you buy him he _shall serve
thee six years, and the seventh, thou shall let him go free from thee_,
that is, he shall pay nothing for his Liberty.

Some persons for argument sake may object to this, saying, these
people are not _Hebrews_, as mentioned in these texts of Scripture,
but _Heathens_. This may be difficult enough to determine. However,
admit they are _Heathens_, (although it is well known they are not)
it must be owned by those who know them, that the natives of _Africa_
have exalted notions of a Deity. It is an odd method these Traders
take to civilize and teach them the Christian religion, by importing
one hundred thousand of them yearly into _Virginia_ and other Southern
Provinces, together with the _West-India_ islands, where they are kept
in greater darkness than before, as they are not allowed to worship
GOD on the Sabbath; but are employed in worldly business on that day,
which is a scandal to the Rulers of the _British_ Colonies and Islands
where such things are practised. It is subversive of the Christian
religion not to allow those ignorant people the benefit of it, who
make up more than two thirds of the inhabitants of the beforementioned
places. It is expressly against the laws of GOD; for he gave _Paul_ and
other Apostles commission to go and preach the gospel to every nation,
kindred, and tongue; but instead of that, where the gospel is preached
throughout the _British_ Colonies, and where these people might expect
to receive the light of it; I say, instead of that, they are kept from
divine worship on Sundays, and never once in their lifetime admitted to
church, but obliged to cultivate their small piece of ground allowed
them by their Masters.

The last part of the verse runs thus, _And shall furnish him liberally
with what he hath._ That is, when the Servant hath served thee six
years, as expressed in _Exod._ xxi. 2, and _Deut._ xv. 12. _Then in the
seventh year you shall let him go free from you_; and in ver. 13. _Thou
shall not let him go away empty._ Ver. 14. _Thou shall furnish him
liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy wine
press; of that wherewith the_ LORD _thy_ GOD _hath blessed thee, thou
shalt give him. This is in token that thou dost acknowledge the benefit
that thou hast received by his labours._ Marg. Bible.

It is still further required to set your Servants or Bond-men free at
the above appointed time, by the 15th verse of the same chap. _And thou
shalt remember that thou wast a Bond-man in the land of_ Egypt, _and
the_ LORD _thy_ GOD _redeemed thee; therefore I command thee this thing
to-day. I command thee._ You are ordered, yea, commanded to do _this
thing_. What thing? To set free your Bond-servants after six years
service. You are commanded to do it _to-day_, _viz._ At the expiration
of six years, for, says GOD, by the voice of his Servant, _I command
thee this thing to-day_.

There is a blessing promised to those who do this thing in ver. 18 of
the above chap. After enjoining that it may not seem hard unto you in
sending away this Servant, as he hath been worth a double hired one,
in serving thee six years, he says, _and the_ LORD _thy_ GOD _shall
bless thee in all that thou doest_. Sweet encouragement for poor sinful
souls! To be blessed in every thing that they do. What man will forfeit
this great blessing for the sake of the service of one, two, or more
Servants for life? Will he allow himself to be cursed by GOD in every
thing that he doeth for the small gain he can make by their services?
This charming promise of a blessing in all that thou doest, and the
dreadful events that may take place in contradicting the command of
GOD, I hope will make such impressions upon the minds of men, that they
will not bind Servant to serve above six years; but will set him at
liberty in the seventh year, and give him liberally of what the LORD
hath blessed them with, as required in the above cited text. If you
think you have not enough of this, pass along to

The fourth and last section on this head, _If thy Brother be sold
unto thee, thou shall not compel him to serve as a Bond-man; but as
an hired Servant_. This is proved by _Lev._ xxv. 39, 40. where it is
said, _If thy Brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be
sold unto thee, thou shalt not compel him to serve as a Bond-servant._
This is expressly against making Slaves of any of our poor Brethren,
or compeling them to serve as Bond-servants. _If thy Brother that
dwelleth by thee be waxen poor_, are the words of the verse; the poor
_Africans_ who fall into the hands of the Men-wolves that prowl on
their coasts, are obliged to serve their lifetime, and their children
after them: This is being Bond-men with a witness, and as we have great
reason to believe they are poor enough when they steal them, they are
kept so forever after, not having means to make a penny themselves. The
_Africans_ will be understood, if not primarily intended, to be the
people mentioned in this text! It is said, _Thy Brother who dwelleth
by thee_: When they are in _Africa_ it is certain they are at a great
distance; but when they come to _America_ or the _West-Indies_ they
then dwell _by us_; therefore I think, from the above citations, no
person can buy these people, and oblige them and their children to
serve as Slaves, without incuring the displeasure of GOD and his
punishments for disobeying his just commands.

It may be added, as in v. 42d of the same chap. _For they are my
servants, which I brought forth out of_ Egypt; _they shall not be
sold as Bond-men_. The last part of this verse is expressly against
_selling_ them as Bond-men. Should it be objected, that the _Africans_
were not _brought forth out of the land of_ Egypt, it would not affect
the controversy. I would sincerely advise every man who is in this
abominable Trade not to persist in it, seeing the many threats and
commands against him in GOD’s laws, and the blessings that are promised
if he does not.

The IId General Head proposed, is, That this practice of making Slaves
of our Brethren is likewise against the law of nature, and the Charter
of this Province. The first part of this head, may be easily proved
by the following texts of Scripture; _Matt._ vii. 12. _Therefore all
things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to
them._ _Luke_ vi. 31. _And as you would that men should do to you, do
ye so to them likewise._ Who is that proud one that will not receive
these instructions? And who is that man that will do unto any person,
either white or black, Christian or Savage, contrary to what he would
that he should do to him? This would be acting contrary to reason and
common sense. Would any person consent to have himself torn from his
friends and native country, and be made a Slave for life, and to
have his dear, dear little children continue in the same condition
from one generation to another? No; surely no person would agree to
that. Well then, it certainly must be contrary to the laws of nature,
christianity, and subversive of the texts just quoted, which were
wrote for our direction and guidance in this world. It is likewise
certain, that those who carry on this Trade, do not unto men as they
would men should do to them; for if these poor people which they, the
Ship-masters take from their own Country and then sell for Slaves, were
doing to them as they are done to, they would (were it in their power,
which seldom is the case, the owners being conscious of the wrong they
are doing, and dreading what naturally would follow) revenge the injury
they receive in being made Slaves, and resume that Liberty again, which
was wrongfully taken from them; I say, they would often revenge the
injury offered them by killing the Captain of the ship who had taken
them to be mancipated for life, and would serve in the same manner the
Owners of the vessel if they could get them, who are no better than the
Masters, in putting them into such employ. Who could find fault with
them? No person. They were only retrieving the most common blessing we
enjoy, Liberty, and instead of being punished, the law would protect
them in so noble an action. But,

Readers, before I leave this, let me beg you to “bring the matter
home to yourselves, and think whether any condition in life can be
more completely miserable than that of those distressed Captives. On
reflecting, that each of them had some tender attachments which were
broke by the cruel separation! Some Parent or Wife who had not an
opportunity of mingling tears in a parting embrace! Perhaps some Infant
or aged Parent whom his labour was to feed, and vigilance protect! and
himself under the dreadful apprehensions of perpetual Slavery.”

To inforce this part of the head, allow me, Reader, to intrude a little
upon your time, by giving you a short account of the barbarous usage
these poor Negroes meet with from their Masters in the _West-Indies_
and Southern Provinces of _North-America_; on reading of which, you
will not be long in concluding, that they do not in this case observe
the golden rule.

The crimes attending the Slave Trade are greatly aggravated by the
extreme cruel usage the Negroes meet with in the Plantations, as well
with regard to food and cloathing as the hard and unreasonable labour
that is exacted from them, and what cannot be forgot, the severe
chastisements they frequently suffer, which is bounded by the wrath
and pleasure of their hard task-masters. 1st. As to their food. In
_Barbadoes, &c._[1] “three quarts of corn and three herrings are a
weeks allowance for a working Slave; and it is mentioned in the System
of Geography, that in _Jamaica_ the Owners of the Negro Slaves set
aside for each, a piece of ground, and allow them Sundays to cultivate
it, the produce of which with a few salt herrings or other salt fish
is all that is allowed for their support. But need I go so far as
_Jamaica_ to prove this? No. In _Virginia_ they do the same. 2d. As to
their cloathing. In the Islands, the allowance for a Slave’s cloathing
is seldom more than six yards of oznabrigs a year, and in the Southern
Colonies, where the piercing westerly winds are long and sensibly felt,
these poor _Africans_ suffer much for the want of sufficient cloathing;
indeed, shocking to relate! some of them are obliged to work most of
the night in boiling-houses, notwithstanding the hard days work they
have performed. Their Owners make great gain by their Slaves’ labour.
They lay heavy burdens on them, and yet feed and cloath them very
sparingly, and some scarcely at all; so that it cannot be wondered that
these poor creatures are obliged to shift for their living as they do,
which occasions many of them being killed in stealing potatoes or other
food to satisfy hunger. If they are detected in taking any thing from
the plantation they belong to, which they have so hardly laboured for,
they are cruely whiped.” Lastly. With respect to the beating which
these poor people meet with in the _West-Indies_. For the least fault
they whip them most unmercifully, _viz._ for not being at work in half
an hour after the usual notice; speaking a word which the Overseer may
think saucy; not shewing respect enough to him; not doing with agility
some hard piece of work ordered them; and any thing which the Overseer
may take exception at. They beat them with thick clubs, and you may see
their bodies all whaled in a terrible manner.

Mr. _George Whitefield_ writes in a letter to the Planters in
_Virginia_, _Carolina_, _&c._ “The task-masters, by their inhuman
usage and unrelenting scourges have ploughed their backs and made long
furrows, and at length brought them even to death.” This is the fate
which great numbers in the islands and Southern Provinces meet with.
When speaking of their cloathing and food, he adds, “When passing
along, I have viewed your plantations cleared and cultivated, many
spacious houses built, and the Owners of them faring sumptuously every
day. My blood has frequently run cold within me to consider how many of
your Slaves had neither convenient food to eat or proper raiment to put
on, notwithstanding many of the comforts you enjoy were solely owing
to their indefatigable labours.” In _Virginia_, _&c._ in case a Negro
gives the slightest affront to a white person, he goes to the Negroe’s
Master and demands satisfaction, the Master delivers him to the white
person to take what satisfaction he pleases; who whips him, strikes him
with clubs, and, as is often done, cuts off his ears, and marks him by
cuting his face, or other parts of his body. What more could be done
to a brute beast, who was brought up and designed for the yoke? Oh!
how long will you continue in this delusion and horrid abuse of the
principal workmanship of GOD. It is astonishing how a people who so
much value themselves upon their Freedom can continue in the practice
of so much oppression. Will not the groans of this afflicted and
miserable people reach Heaven! And when the cup of inequity is filled,
the unavoidable tendency must be the pouring forth of GOD’s judgments
upon their oppressors. But alas! is it not too plain that this cruelty
has already been the object of divine anger? For what greater judgment
can befal any person than to become a prey to that obduracy of heart,
that neglectfulness of GOD, and a callousness to every religious

I could say a great deal more concerning the unparralleled cruelty that
these Negroes meet with: But I apprehend more has been said already
than will be believed, although it is far from coming up to the real
truth; for it is impossible my pen can represent in proper colours the
hard usage they meet with. The sympathizing Reader must feel the rest,
for I can assist him no farther. I believe there are but few that have
not heard or read of the cruel treatment of those unhappy mortals.
Indeed it is almost incredible that such cruelty should be practised in
any of the _British_ dominions.

I could have quoted a dozen Authors, setting forth the inhuman
punishments inflicted upon the _Africans_; but that would have swelled
my page. I hope this short, but true narrative, for great part of which
I am much obliged to Mr. _Benezet_, will answer the same end of raising
in every breast an utter detestation and abhorrence of the horrid
customs and savage usage in the Islands and Colonies abovementioned,
and I make no doubt but every one will clearly see, _they do not to
these Negroes as they would that they should do to them_.

I think it is time to leave this part and go to the last, _viz._ That
this base custom is likewise against the Charter of this Province; as
is clearly and most simply demonstrated by a clause in said Charter,
granted by King _William_ and Queen _Mary_, dated at _Westminster_,
the 7th of _October_, in the third year of their reign, wherein,
_inter alia_, it is established and ordained, _That all and every of
the Subjects of Us, our Heirs, and Successors, which shall go to and
inhabit within Our said Province and territory, and every of their
Children which shall happen to be born there, or on the seas in going
thither, or returning from thence, shall have and enjoy all_ Liberties
_and immunities of_ FREE _and natural Subjects within the dominions
of Us, Our Heirs, and Successors, to all intents, constructions, and
purposes whatsoever, as if they and every of them were born within our
realm of_ England. I need say but little as to this branch of the head
further than to observe, that the clause of the Charter just cited,
proves clearly, and which cannot be further disputed, _that all and
every of the Subjects, the Inhabitants of_ New-England, _which shall
come to and inhabit within the Province and territory of the same, and
every of their Children which shall happen to be born there, shall
have and enjoy all the_ Liberties, &c. _of_ FREE _and natural Subjects
of the realm of_ England. Indeed I am sorry to mention that this
Charter should have been so long subverted and remained unobserved by
the Publick in so interesting a point, when by timely observance it
might have saved many thousands from Slavery that are now dead and
mouldered into dust. I hope this easy found light will not be too late
discovered to direct and save the present Slaves from their Bondage,
which many! too many! groan under: So that I expect the inhabitants of
the _American_ Provinces will not give any person an opportunity of
charging them with that infamous character of making or keeping any man
or woman Slaves, when they are complaining daily that their Liberties
are wrested from them, and little think how they deprive these poor
Black People of their Freedom, when there is as little reason for it
as there is for making Slaves of _British_ Subjects. The above cited
clause in the Charter, says, _Those born in or shall come to and dwell
within the Province of the_ Massachusetts-Bay are FREE; from which
I am led to think, and which every person must see, will extend to
Black as well as White. But, Reader, excuse me, whoever you are, that
may take offence at my construing this clause of the Charter in the
manner I have done, it is only my opinion, and every one is at liberty
to enjoy his own sentiments upon it as well as I; therefore I flatter
myself of hearing soon, that means will be taken by the Legislature of
most, if not all the Provinces of _North-America_, and the _West-India_
Islands, totally prohibiting the importation of Negroes into the
_British_ Plantations; and setting at Liberty with universal consent,
every Negro throughout the whole, at least in _North-America_, which
will be an honour to human nature, to say that this great and this only
remaining hinderance to the absolute freedom as well as legality of the
_English_ trade is now happily and gloriously abolished; and then we
may all cry with shouts of joy! which few more countries in the four
quarters of the globe can, _That complete_ FREEDOM _both in people and
trade is allowed throughout the_ British _Islands and Plantations in_
America _and_ the West-Indies!

The IIId General Head proposed was, To shew the disadvantages arising
from this base Trade. This head I propose to consider separately, and
shall 1st. Shew the disadvantages to _Africa_ in taking so many of its
natives away yearly. 2d. Treat of the hurt and prejudice of this Trade
with _Europe_. 3d. Shew the disadvantages to the _British_ Plantations
in _America_, particularly to the _West-Indies_, in carrying Black
People thither.

The first part of this head is, To shew the disadvantages to _Africa_
in taking so many of its natives yearly. Before I enter upon this
branch it may not be improper to mention a few observations which
Mr. _Postlethwayt_ makes upon the great qualities which this country
abound with. “Its situation for commerce is certainly beyond any of the
other quarters of the world, for it stands in the center between the
other three, and has thereby a much nearer communication with _Europe_,
_Asia_, and _America_, than any other quarter has with the rest. It is
wonderfully accommodated for commerce by the interposition of islands,
and more particularly by the assistance of the trade winds, which
render the navigation safe, easy, and constant. It is furnished with
the greatest and most convenient navigable rivers, and perhaps with as
many of them as any other of the chief parts of the world: Such are
the _Nile_, _Nubia_, _Niger_, _Natal_, which are rivers of the first
magnitude; besides these there are innumerable others, though not equal
to the former, are yet very excellent streams, situated for navigation
and commerce, and which by their noble courses penetrate far inland;
if the _Europeans, &c._ would cultivate a human and Christian like
commerce with the _Africans_, they might through these rivers become
the medium of an endless beneficial commerce. The country is populous
beyond credibility, the soil fruitful, the season for the greatest
part mild and clement, and the air salubrious.” I must stop in the
midst of this agreeable description, being afraid of leading myself
into an undue length in this narrative of the beautious perfection of
that rich and fruitful part of the world.

I shall now consider the disadvantages to _Africa_ in taking so many
of its natives away yearly. But it is needless to speak much on this
head, as most of my Readers will perceive the prejudices to _Africa_
in thus draining it of the inhabitants yearly in the manner _Britain_
and the Plantations do. I shall mention a few of them. 1st. There can
be no loss to any country (particularly to one like _Africa_ that is
yet mostly to cultivate) equal to that of depopulating it. 2d. It
prevents the inland country, where the incessant broils are carried on,
from defending themselves against the attacks and encroachments made
on their properties by the Kings and Chiefs, whereby many thousands
of their subjects being taken prisoners, are sold to the Coasters,
they being nourished and caressed by the _Europeans_, particularly by
_Britain_ and the Colonies, in doing so, for the sake of the Slave
Trade to _America_, and the _West-Indies_; and further, in consequence
of this depriving them of defending themselves against these base
assaults, it prevents them entirely from cultivating and manuring
that fruitful and rich country, to the degree it is capable of. 3d.
It ever obstructs the civilizing of those people, and consequently
of propagating amongst them the Christian religion, and extending
the Trade into the bowels of _Africa_, which by contrary means might
be easily practicable. 4th. That whilst the slaving Trade of those
people, continue to be the great object of the powers that trade
there it is to be feared it will ever, as it does at present spirit
up wars and hostilities amongst the Negro Princes and Chiefs, for the
sake of making captives of each other for sale. And 5th. The greatest
disadvantage to _Africa_, by thus draining it of the inhabitants is,
that it prevents them from cultivating and peopling that great fertile
country, of introducing _European_ arts and sciences amongst them, and
of carrying on a friendly, civil, and christian Commerce with them into
the heart of their region.

The second branch alluding to the third head was, to treat of the
prejudice to _Africa_, and its trade with _Europe_. It is an absolute
fact, that these people are incessently at war with their neighbouring
Princes so that they cannot get their business looked into or
followed, and consequently a great hinderance to the manufacturing
such quantities of their country’s produce of every kind, to send to
_Europe_ and _America_, _&c._ as they might do, were this Slave Trade
abolished, and the Rulers in amity, friendship, and concord, one with

It is further a hurt to the _African_ trade with _Europe_, for the
Slave Trade has so gained upon the minds of those men that traffick
to _Africa_, that they never once think of the other commodities, at
least in such quantities as _Europe_ might consume were the attention
necessary paid to it by making this the only object of the traders
notice. I believe it would turn out much more profitable to keep wholly
to the produce of this country, _viz._ gums, ivory, gold and silver
dust, _&c._ and to resign that base unchristian Trade of Man-selling.

Lastly, on this head, To shew the disadvantages to the _British_
Plantations in _America_, _&c._ in bringing Black people into them.
This will be made very easily appear when you consider, that these
numerous Black People, which are yearly brought into the southern-most
parts of _North-America_ and the _West-Indies_ were very poor at that
time, not having a penny to command, and never so much as once in
their lifetime had it in their power to make one half that sum for
themselves, so that the different Provinces in the Continent, and the
Islands in the _West-Indies_ are filled with these necessitous Black
People, and must be put upon the townships to which they belong, in
case this enslaving them be ever abolished, which I flatter myself, and
I hope not vainly, will be done in time, and that with effect. Further,
why do they fill their Plantations with Black People, so unnatural to
the Whites, the Proprietors of the different Colonies, when it seems
no way difficult to obtain White People to serve free in their stead?
_Europe_ in general affords numbers of poor and distressed objects
for that purpose, and if these were not overworked, as the Negroes
generally are, they would make as good Servants for the _American_ and
_West-India_ Plantations as the Blacks do. And if the _Europeans_ were
upon a level with regard to the price of labour, in their Colonies, I
cannot but think they would reap great advantage in laying aside the
Slave Trade, and cultivate a friendly and civilised Commerce with the
_Africans_. Until this is done it does not seem possible that the
inland trade of that country should ever be extended to the degree it
is capable of; for while the spirit of _Butchery_ and making Slaves
of each other, is promoted by the _Europeans_, _Americans_, _&c._
amongst those people, they will never be able to travel with safety
into the heart of the country, or to cement such commercial friendship
and alliance with them, as will actually introduce our arts and

The IVth General Head was, To shew the advantages arising from
abolishing this base custom. This Head I propose dividing into two
parts, 1st. The advantages to _Africa_, and 2d. The advantages to
_Europe_ particularly to _Britain_ and the Plantations in _America_ and
the _West-Indies_.

First to _Africa_. The advantages that would arise to it, in abolishing
this base and unchristian-like Commerce are numerous, some of which may
be comprehended under the following. 1st. The abolishing this Trade may
be a means of peopling this country, and of cultivating it in the same
manner with any other country in _Europe_ or _Asia_, so as to render it
capable of bearing in as great abundance as the _East-Indies_, spices
of equal quality to those of _Banda_, _Ternate_, and _Amboyna_; I say,
the like spices might be produced on the rich and fruitful shores of
_Melinda_ on the east side, or of the slave coast on the west side of
_Africa_, and that as easy and to as great advantage, as where they
are now raised, the latitude being the same, and soil not unlike;
and, in short, cinnamon and all others, the production of _East_ and
_West-Indies_, by proper management might be raised here as well as
in those parts. 2d. It would introduce the Christian religion among
them, which is a shame to these nations who pretend to hold fast the
principles of Christianity, to keep so long hid, and of consequence, be
a means of bringing among them the more civilized arts and sciences.
3d. It will recommend the _European_ dress, and introduce their customs
among the natives, and of course civilize them like other Christian
nations. Lastly. It will be a means of bringing this country to as
great perfection in trade, riches, and grandeur, as any in _Europe_,
it being a much more fertile and plentious soil for many valuable

Much more could I say upon the numerous advantages arising to this
excellent country: But let what has been said suffice, I leave the rest
to the Reader’s own feeling, if he has any for this poor distressed
_Africa_ which groans under a heavy load of oppression.

The next thing in course is, the advantages that would arise to
_Europe_ in thus carrying on a Christian-like Commerce with _Africa_.
This trade even in its present state, excluding that of the Slaves, is
as advantageous as any that is now followed; and what will it be when
a friendly traffick is carried on? It is as it were all profit, the
first cost being some things of _European_, particularly of _British_
manufactures, and others generally purchased with them; for which
there is in return, gold, elephant’s-teeth, wax, gums, cotton-wool,
divers dying-woods, and Slaves: But this last piece of Commerce,
_viz._ Man-slaving, I am far from making a part of the _British_
trade, and I dare say every humane person will be likeminded. These
are articles which the country abound in, and would be still cheaper
to an immense degree, were the inland parts settled with their own
people; but instead of that, a hundred thousand are yearly carried
away. _Britain_ pays but little for the commodities it exports to
_Africa_, being mostly, as observed before, its own produce, such as
worsted and cotton cloths of all kinds, brass, iron, and copper work
of every sort, particularly large quantities of all kinds of defensive
arms, with powder and shot in proportion; _East-India_ goods, every
kind of _British_ manufactures, and a good deal of _American_ and
_West-India_ rum, _&c._ It is not easy to say what vast quantities
of the above _British_ and _American_ productions would be exhausted
yearly among so great a people, and in so very extensive a country,
were the Slave Trade stopped. It is the interest of every Merchant
in _Britain_ and the Plantations who are now concerned in traffick
to _Africa_, to cultivate the inland commerce in its utmost extent,
as having no manner of concern with the Slave Trade, there being the
greatest reason to believe, that where they now export twenty shillings
worth of commodities thither, they would then export an hundred pound;
and I am inclined to think when the trade comes to be extended to the
degree it will admit of, notwithstanding those goods that are imported
from _Africa_, there will still be discovered an infinite variety
of trafficable articles, with which the present Traders are totally
unacquainted, and this Trade become the most beneficial to _Britain_,
_America_, and the _West-Indies_, of any that is at present on foot,
as it is common to every individual, and of which the government has
taken much notice, by granting an annual sum of ten thousand pounds
sterling for the maintaining and upholding the forts and castles in the
_British_ Settlements in _Africa_, so that they are entirely defended
against the attacks of any enemy, and their Trade and Colonies secured
by irresistible strength of forts and castles.

A great deal more could be mentioned on the thousands of advantages
that may arise to the interest of _Britain_ and the Plantations in
abolishing this wicked Trade: However, I shall detain my Readers no
longer on this head, but as proposed,

Conclude the whole with some short admonitions to those concerned,
and a method to put this Trade to _Africa_ upon a just and lawful
footing. I advise every Merchant and Ship-master who is in this Trade
of Man-slaving to renounce and give it up. What arguments or reason,
pray, can be advanced for his justification, when he sees such threats
and curses against him, particularly mentioned in the first head? Why
should any person incur the penalties of GOD’s Law so daringly for the
sake of gain? Should they think themselves on a death-bed, what agonies
and troubles of mind must they undergo in the thoughts of enslaving so
many miserable creatures, of murdering so many thousands of innocent
people in the wars they occasion, treacherously taking them out of
their own country, using them barbarously, massacring numbers of them
in all the cruel ways imaginable on the passage, selling them for life,
and depriving them even of a comfortable living, notwithstanding they
serve for nothing else; surely the judgment of GOD must come upon such
men who will thus use their own Brethren who were born to inherit the
same salvation with us, and if his judgment does not come upon them, it
will pursue their children unto the third and fourth generation, until
the riches that have been thus scandalously amassed be squandered away,
and they become as poor as these Negroes themselves, by selling of whom
such unjust gain was made. But this is only one way out of thousands
that GOD chuses to afflict his enemies in this world. And,

Still pursuing, that GOD will be revenged on those that punish
wrongfully such poor Negroes, I shall insert what the above mentioned
Mr. _George Whitefield_ says in a letter to the inhabitants of
_Virginia_, &c. “We have,” says he, “a remarkable instance of GOD’s
taking cognizance of, and avenging the quarrel of poor Slaves, 2
_Sam._ xxi. 1. There was a famine in the days of _David_, three years,
year after year, and _David_ enquired of the LORD, and the LORD
answered, it is for _Saul_, and his bloody house, because he slew
the _Gibeonites_. Two things are here very remarkable, 1st. These
_Gibeonites_ were only hewers of wood and drawers of water; or in
other words, Slaves like yours. 2d. That this plague was sent by GOD
_many years after the injury_ (the cause of the plague) was committed.
And for what end were this and such like examples recorded in holy
Scripture? Without doubt for our learning. For GOD is the same to-day
as he was yesterday, and will continue the same for ever. He does not
reject the prayer of the poor and destitute, nor disregard the cry of
the meanest Negro.” When speaking of the oppression and unchristian
usage these poor Negroes meet with from the Ship-masters in their
passage, and from the Masters they are sold to in the south parts of
_America_ and the _West-Indies_, he adds, “The blood of the Negroes
spilt for these many years in your respective Provinces will rise up to
Heaven against you,” together with that lost in _Africa_, occasioned
by the Traders that go thither. It may not be improper to observe
here, that this plague was sent by GOD on _Saul_ and his bloody house
_many years after the slaughter of the_ Gibeonites; so may these men
reasonably expect, that have occasioned and still continue to be the
cause of spilling so much innocent blood in _Africa_ and the different
Provinces, to have a plague or curse come upon them, _many years after
the perpetrating these wicked deeds_.

I will insert a few questions, for which I am indebted to Mr.
_Postlethwayt_, by way of argument or persuasion to give up this
enslaving of Men to those people who will be ready to defend this
scandalous Trade to _Africa_, and of keeping these people in ignorance,
who are brought into a country where the gospel is preached on all
sides of them.

1st. “Whether the people of this country notwithstanding their colour,
are not capable of being civilized and brought into the Christian
religion, as well as great numbers of the _Indians_ of _America_
and _Asia_ have been; and whether the primitive inhabitants of all
countries so far as we have been able to trace them were not once as
savage and inhuman as the people in _Africa_, and whether the ancient
_Britons_ themselves of our country were not once upon a level with the

2d. “Whether therefore, there is not a probability that those people
might in time, by proper management in the _Europeans_, become as wise,
as industrious, as humane, and as good Christians, as the people of any
other country?

3d. “Whether their rational faculties are not in general equal to those
of any other of the human species; and whether they are not, from
experience, as capable for mechanical and manufactural arts and trades,
as even the Bulk of the _Europeans_?

4th. “Whether it would not be more to the interest of all the
_European_ Nations concerned in the Trade to _Africa_, rather to
endeavour to cultivate a friendly and humane Commerce with these
people, into the very centure of their extended country, than to
content themselves only with skimming a trifling portion of Trade upon
the Coast of _Africa_?

5th. “Whether the greatest hinderance and obstruction to the
_European_’s cultivating a Christian-like and humane Commerce with
those populous countries has not wholly proceeded from that unjust
Traffick called the Slave Trade, which is carried on by the _Europeans_
_Americans_, _&c._

6th. “Whether this Trade and this only was not the primary cause, and
still continues to be the chief cause of these eternal and incessant
broils, quarrels, and animosities which subsist between the Negro
Princes and Chiefs; and consequently of those endless wars which abide
among them, and which they are induced to carry on in order to make
prisoners of one another for the sake of the Slave Trade?

7th. “Whether, if trade was carried on with them for a series of years,
as it has been with most other savage countries, and the _Europeans_
gave no incouragement whatever to the Slave Trade, those cruel wars
among the Blacks would not cease, and a fair and honourable Commerce in
time take place throughout the whole country?

8th. “Whether the example of the _Dutch_ in the _East-Indies_, who
have civilized innumerable of the natives, and brought them to the
_European_ way of cloathing, _&c._ does not give reasonable hopes that
these suggestions are not visionary, but founded on experience as well
as on humane and Christian principles?

9th. “Whether Commerce in general has not proved the great means of
civilizing all nations, even the most savage and brutal; and why not
the _Africans_?

10th. “Whether the territory of the _European_ nations who are
interested in the Colonies and Plantations in _America_, are not
populous enough, or may be rendered so, by proper encouragement given
to matrimony and the breed of foundling infants, to supply their
respective Colonies with labourers in the place of Negro Slaves? And

Lastly. “Whether the _British_ dominions in general have not an extent
of territory sufficient to increase and multiply their inhabitants;
and whether it is not their own faults that they do not increase them
sufficiently to supply their Colonies and Plantations, with Whites
instead of Blacks?”

I make no doubt, but some persons who are concerned in the Slave Trade
to _Africa_, will attempt making answer to some of these questions: But
I presume there are others of them they will not venture upon, knowing
they are founded upon reason and truth, and I hope will have great
influence on those this Treatise concern.

I would add one necessary query more, to those who hold the sword of
justice, and who must account to God for the use they make of it.
Since the _English_ Law is so truly valuable for its justice, how can
they overlook the barbarous deaths and wrongful Slavery of the unhappy
_Africans_, without trial or proof of being guilty of crimes adequate
to their punishments? Why are those Masters of vessels (who are not
the most considerate of men) suffered to be sovereign arbiters of the
lives of these miserable Negroes in their passage, and allowed with
impunity to destroy, may I not say murder their fellow creatures in
a manner so cruel as can never be related but with shame and horror?
Answer me this, ye pretended Judges and Governors in the different
Colonies where such practices are used, and not be shocked at the
negligence you have sleeped in. Since you are put in remembrance of it
now, I hope and sincerely wish, I, or any other person may not have
occasion to remind you of the same again, but that you will punish
with equity all those who import Negroes; there being hundreds of
poor _Europeans_ that would be glad to come and serve in any of the
_British_ Plantations, and those that could not pay a passage doubtless
would sell part of their time for it; and this I make no doubt,
considering they have not the charge of their funeral and death-bed
expences and sundry other things to pay, will come nigh if not full as
cheap as buying and keeping Negroes; and it will be attended with this
advantage, that these White people when they have served some years in
the lowest capacities turn out upon the waste land, marry, and in a few
years we see a town well settled, and in less than fifty years there
will be an increase of fourfold; by this means the country will fill
up and we become respectable and secure from an enemy, and furnished
with every conveniency of life. And you Governors, _&c._ who have the
legislative power in your hands will still further make Laws and put
them in execution, stopping any further importation of Slaves into the
Provinces or Islands where you are the Representative head, so that in
that time they may furnish themselves with sufficient numbers, and by
proper usage keep up that quantity which so much decrease by improper
management. Now give me leave to proceed

In a method to put this Trade to _Africa_ on a just and lawful
footing. First, in order to this, it is my humble opinion, if I may
be allowed to give it, that there be a number of men who may chuse
to venture in this Trade, both in _Britain_ and the Colonies, that
shall be incorporated into separate bodies by the name of _English_,
or _British_; _American_, or _New-England African_ companies, or by
the denomination of other Provinces in _America_, or Plantations in
the _West-Indies_; and these companies shall equip and rig out as many
vessels as they think proper, loading them with _British America_,
_East_ and _West-India_ goods, and bring back in return, the rich and
plentiful produce of _Africa_. But before I go any further into this
point it must be observed, there is one real hinderance in the way
which must be removed, or else no man or company need ever think of
penetrating into the heart of this country, but just content themselves
with taking the skim of this Trade, leting the body stand, and that is,
the Slave Trade; this must be entirely renounced and given up by the
_Europeans_, particularly by _Britain_ and the Colonies; then we may
with a good face and conscience travel into the heart of _Africa_, and
meet with a friendly and hearty reception from the natives, who will
trade with us, and give in exchange their valuable productions for our
goods which are generally exported thither.

When that great, that only chief obstacle, the Slave Trade is removed,
then _Britain_ and the Colonies will flourish by so great and
profitable a Commerce. Think what a great addition it will make to
their traffick, the furnishing a hundred thousand people annually, more
than are at present with cloathing, powder, shot, and warlike arms,
and many more things needless here to enumerate out of England; rum,
and sundry other articles out of _America_ and the _West-Indies_. It
is supposed that the above extraordinary number of Blacks are taken
out of _Africa_ yearly, and either murdered or made Slaves of, by the
ships that go there out of _Boston_, _&c._ and what advantages may
arise to the inhabitants in peopling, and consequently of cultivating
and manuring their ground, and of bringing their rich trade to the
perfection it is capable of, with _Britain_, _&c._ is hard to say, when
the innermost parts of that great and fruitful country is settled,
and a free and happy trade carried into the heart of it: But thus
far I will venture to say, as I have done already, that where twenty
shillings worth of commodities is at present exported an hundred pound
will be, when a friendly Commerce is carried on with the natives.

These companies may say, that if once this trade is set on foot, other
_European_ powers, who have Settlements in _Africa_ will invade them
whenever they begin to thrive by not having sufficient funds for the
keeping in good defence the forts, &c. on the Settlements. As to this I
answer, that those companies have a sum of ten thousand pounds sterling
annually, from the Crown of _Britain_, for maintaining and upholding
the forts and castles that are built upon the _British_ Colonies, which
with the duties arising from the Trade will be sufficient to maintain,
uphold, and defend them with strength superior to the strongest enemy.

Thus far I hope I have removed your fears of inability in supporting
and continuing this Trade, and likewise have moved ways and means to
put the same on a just and lawful footing. Now let me, patient Reader,
conclude with a short Exhortation to the Ship-masters and Merchants
concerned in this Trade, in part of which I have had recourse again to
my good old Friend Mr. _Benezet_.

I beg you all would fly from the oppression and Bondage to which the
poor _Africans_ are subjected, loose the bonds from off their necks,
and thereby extricate yourselves from a custom which is pernicious
to your welfare here and hereafter; and as you are sensible most men
have objections to this base, unlawful Trade, you ought to vindicate
yourselves to the world, upon principles of reason, honesty, and
humanity, and then you will not attack the persons, or invade the
rights of these people. I believe those who are concerned in this
Trade will be at a loss to make this justification but upon motives
so weak and unreasonable, that I do not think any of them which have
been advanced for their defence worthy of notice; and if they are
undeserving of that, they certainly are below regard; therefore I
think _you should forever lay it aside_. This is the best and shortest
way; for _there should be no trade carried on_, it being a national
and provincial concern, _but such as is justifiable both to_ GOD
_and man_, and this is in direct opposition to both. But laying man’s
resentment aside, which is of little moment in comparison with that of
the Almighty’s, I counsel you once more to think of a future reckoning,
consider what reasons you will be able to produce at the great and last
day. You now accumulate riches and live in pleasure; but what will
you do in the end, and that will be but short? What if you should be
called hence and hurried out of this world under the vast load of blood
guiltiness that is now lying on your souls? How many thousands have you
been the instruments to, and primary cause of being killed in the wars
and broils with the _African_ Chiefs, wanting to obtain your number to
enslave; and how many have you killed in the passage, when these poor
Creatures were trying to retrieve their Liberty which they had in their
own country, and which you unjustly take from them, or rather chusing
to die than take food to nourish and preserve themselves for being
mancipated with their children after them?

It is declared in the most express terms in Scripture, that thieves and
murderers shall not inherit the kingdom of GOD. You who are in this
Trade take warning by that, and if you have any thoughts or Christian
feeling you must certainly renounce it; for that you are thieves and
murderers (I hope after what has been said) will not be disputed; and
you should think that at the same time and by the same means you are
treasuring up worldly riches, you are treasuring up fountains of wrath
against the day of anger and vengeance that shall come upon the workers
of iniquity, unless timely repented of.

What injustice is greater? What offence more heinous? Is there any
carries in it more consummate guilt than that in which you now live?
How can you lift your culpable eyes to Heaven? How can you pray for
mercy, or hope for savour from him that made and formed you, while
you go on thus boldly and publickly dishonouring him, in degrading
and destroying the noblest workmanship of his hands in this sublunary
world? Can you think that GOD will hear your prayers, receive your
supplications, or grant your desires, while you act thus grossly and
openly against his divine revealed will and pleasure? And do you
suppose that he who is the Parent of all nations, the Protector of all
people, and the Father of all men, will not revenge the mal-treatment
of his offspring whom he once so loved as to give his only begotten
Son, _that whosoever believed in him should not perish, but have
everlasting life_? This love of GOD to man, which is disclosed in
Scripture, adds double provocation to your crimes; for if GOD regards
us with so much affection, we ought also to esteem one another.

Permit yourselves for a moment to reflect equitably and deliberately
upon the nature of this horrid, detestable, vile, and abominable Man
Trade, and your hearts must certainly relent, if you have not lost all
sense of benevolence, all sympathy and compassion towards those of your
Brethren who have the same capacities, understandings and souls, and
who were born to inherit the same salvation with you; I say, if you
are not callous to every Christian, humane, and manly sensibility, you
certainly must feel compassion for those extremely oppressed people,
when you think what miseries, what devastations and massacres among
them you have been the author of, and all for filthy lucre’s sake. The
thoughts of this accursed Trade touches my very heart, and finding if
I continue any longer I shall get out of the bounds of decency, must
therefore conclude. And if all you have read should have no weight upon
your hardened hearts, this remains for my consolation that I have done
my duty; and I pray! Fervently pray! That GOD would have mercy on your
sinful souls; and that he of his infinite goodness would grant that you
may be made sensible of your guilt and repent of these your execrable
and really detestable deeds.


       *       *       *       *       *

☞ _The Author makes no doubt but the Publick, after reading this
Pamphlet, will readily agree with him, that the words in the Dedication
are verified, “That it was put together with more good intent than
ability,” which he is very sensible of: But at the same time thinks all
criticism and scrutinizing should be laid aside, when they reflect_,
that the will to do good is next in order to the action itself.


[1] It is supposed eighty thousand Negroes, are upon the Island of
_Barbadoes_, and yet through the hard labour they exact of these
poor creatures, and what of them are killed through their barbarous
chastisements, a decrease is made of five thousand Slaves yearly,
which they are resupplied with from _Africa_; and it may be reasonably
expected, that the children eighty thousand Negroes would have, were
they worked in the same manner with the white people, and did not so
many of them die through hard labour, and from the treatment they
suffer: I say, it may be expected, there would be an increase of ten
thousand at a moderate computation yearly, instead of five thousand
decreasing. One may form an idea from this, of what an additional
supply most of the _West-India_ Islands and Southern Provinces need,
for there is not one of them but what import a considerable number of
Slaves annually, to keep up their common stock.


  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Some hyphens in words have been silently removed, some added,
  when a predominant preference was found in the original book.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.

  Pg xvi: ‘shonld have incurred’ replaced by ‘should have incurred’.
  Pg 17: ‘base, unchristan’ replaced by ‘base, unchristian’.
  Pg 20: ‘their opression’ replaced by ‘their oppression’.
  Pg 26: ‘concerned ni the’ replaced by ‘concerned in the’.
  Pg 27: Quote marks have been removed from the paragraph ‘As ... Trade.’.
  Pg 31: ‘land of Egygt’ replaced by ‘land of Egypt’.
  Pg 34: ‘out of Eygpt’ replaced by ‘out of Egypt’.
  Pg 40: ‘and mark him’ replaced by ‘and marks him’.
  Pg 45: ‘by the interposion’ replaced by ‘by the interposition’.
  Pg 52: ‘and conton cloths’ replaced by ‘and cotton cloths’.
  Pg 56: ‘and will coutinue’ replaced by ‘and will continue’.
  Pg 67: ‘the istruments to’ replaced by ‘the instruments to’.
  Pg 69: ‘the male-treatment of’ replaced by ‘the mal-treatment of’.
  Pg 70: ‘your hardned hearts’ replaced by ‘your hardened hearts’.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A dissuasion to Great-Britain and the colonies, from the slave trade to Africa" ***

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