I think it must just have to do with having too many crew members. After a while I went after the Golden Fleet and lost some crew, and afterwards I was able to hire slaves. They must not join if you have over a certain percentage of your maximum crew cap already. CG: Well its politics. Somehow the tension between the conservative side of the spectrum and the liberal side and that somehow the conservative side years ago got pretty solid in the South and that still exists to a certain extent.
Q8 When the British carried off these slaves after the Treaty of Paris what did they do with them — did they free them or keep them as slaves? CG: I think a lot of them ended up in Sierra Leone. By the way they never got compensation.
There was never any hope they would get the slaves back, but there was a hope that they would get compensation. CG: He said they had no rights that the White man was bound to respect. Now I think even in the worst of the slave societies there were laws that said you could not kill your slaves. However it is another case of enforcement and the words of the laws not necessarily coinciding.
To Northern judicial opinion at that time that was very offensive.
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Of course, this was one of the straws that broke the back that led to the Civil War because the North got up in arms about the Dred Scott decision which basically said that Blacks could not be citizens of the United States. She was a nine year old little Back girl in Boston who wanted to go to the neighborhood school rather than going to the all Black schools which were in Boston at that time.
Her father brought suit and they were represented by Charles Sumner, later Senator from Massachusetts. Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw handed down the decision that the courts of Massachusetts could not rule on racial prejudice-on racial preferences. But I hasten to say that three years later, in , ninety-nine years before Brown versus Board of Education, the legislature of Massachusetts overturned the court and required all communities in Massachusetts to have integrated schools.
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Again, this was ninety-nine years before Brown versus the Board of Education and six years before the Civil War. That legislature, incidentally, was the Know-Nothing legislature of Massachusetts, which was very bitterly prejudiced against immigrants; but they were very solidly on the side of Blacks and even defied the government of the United States and made it illegal to uphold the Compromise of Fugitive Slave Law.
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In Massachusetts passed a law that there would be no racial segregation in public places. This again is ninety-nine years before the national Civil Rights Law of I would contend that Massachusetts was, in fact, the first. I do have handouts in the back or up on the table on the outside, some of the writings of Samuel Sewell and David Walker and Frederick Douglas and Phyllis Wheatley and the Bible pronouncements on slavery and some of the population statistics, and so forth.
I have mixed feelings when I hear people say they are surprised and shocked to learn that Massachusetts had slaves. On the one hand it shows a failure of our histories and our schools. On the other hand it points out that our state played a leadership role in the fight against slavery — that to learn that we ourselves had slaves seems unthinkable. Today I would like to summarize the history of slavery in Massachusetts, the laws concerning the institution, and the effect slavery had on the people both Black and White of our commonwealth.
Black slavery did exist in Massachusetts from in Puritan times until , the last year of the American Revolution, a period of almost a hundred and fifty years. Bob is going to argue or argues that it lasted unofficially even later than For a time, we were behind only England and Rhode Island in the slave trade. There were slave markets in Boston and other communities, including Hadley. So what was slavery like in Massachusetts? First of all, it was never a major part of our population or economy, I do have to say that. By there were approximately two hundred slaves in Massachusetts, mostly from Guinea on the West Coast and Madagascar to the east.
The greatest increase came between and , by which time 5, slaves were counted in Massachusetts. In , the year of the Declaration of Independence, the census category shifted from slaves to Negroes, which included both free and slave, and they numbered 5,, about one and a half percent of our population, which included , Whites.
When pilgrims and puritans first arrived, they brought a large number of servants. These were Whites who were indentured to serve a number of years, usually four to ten years. Some voluntarily signed up as servants. Some were forced into temporary slavery for minor crimes or debts or even rebellions, Scotsmen in particular. A few became permanently bound to service. They were slaves in the sense that they had to do what they were told, they could not leave service or run away, and they did not receive wages.
The same could be said of the large number of children who served as apprentices, a story in itself. Incidentally, as far as White servants are concerned — this has nothing to do with anything I guess — but in Virginia in the very early years, only one in six of the White indentured servants lived to the end of their service, an appalling catastrophe.
I should also say that the majority of early court cases and other social problems in Massachusetts involved indentured servants. Now, the problem begins in The Pequot survivors were mainly turned over to our Indian allies, but a hundred and eighty of them were sold into slavery in the West Indies to compensate our militias. In a Massachusetts built a ship, the Desire-terrible name-that brought the first Black slaves to our state. The shortage of labor here and in the rest of the country played a key role in the development of slavery.
Black slaves were considered better because they could not easily run away and the institution had been successful in other areas. Slavery in Massachusetts was better than slavery elsewhere in the thirteen colonies and certainly better than the horrors of the West Indies. Massachusetts did not deny that Africans were human beings.
Owners were encouraged to Christianize and educate them. There were no great plantations here.
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Work tended to be easier. Relations between slaves and owning families were in many cases closer, and slaves were trained in the trades. Slaves had legal rights here that were enjoyed nowhere else — killing a slave at times carried the death penalty for the owner. Slaves could not be beaten injuriously now, take that however you can take that.
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Slaves had the right to sue, testify and obtain counsel in our courts. But the slave auction and the slave trade still existed. Families were broken up in Massachusetts. Unlike the South, there was little use for children of slaves who were sometimes simply given away. In Massachusetts became the first state-we can certainly be proud of this! So how could the 17th century Puritans with their strong religious ideas or the revolutionaries of the 18th century with their enlightenment ideals, permit the existence of slavery?
The Puritans came from a society and believed in a Bible which permitted arrangements that we would consider slavery. Surprisingly, the Bible does not condemn slavery. Rules were set forth in the Old Testament on how slaves should be treated and those rules were obeyed in the early s under the Massachusetts Body of Liberties. The New Testament actually admonishes slaves to serve their masters faithfully I have the relevant Bible passages in the hand outs.
It was also thought that slavery was a small price to pay for bringing pagans to the blessings of Christianity — what was thirty years of slave labor in exchange for an eternity in heaven?
I have some of his writings in the handouts. The generation which would lead an American revolution against Britain in the s could not, in fact, reconcile their beliefs in the rights of man and their grievances with Britain with the institution of slavery. Starting in the s, slavery began to die in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts legislature, however, refused to grant a blanket emancipation.
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There were a series of memorials sent to the legislature by Black communities, particularly in Boston, and by the Quakers and others, but the Massachusetts legislature refused to grant emancipation on the grounds that it might split the northern and southern colonies in the middle of a war. In the first of a number of legal suits for freedom was entered by Black slaves. These suits culminated in the Quok Walker Case, which was finally settled in The Quork Walker case officially ended slavery in the sense that any suit for freedom would be successful thereafter.