Tag Archives: Slavery
Cotton

The Irrepressible Conflict in Play

The term Irrepressible Conflict originated with William H. Seward in an 1858 speech predicting a socioeconomic collision between the institutions of the North and the South. This confrontation settle the question of whether America would be dominated by a system of free labor or slave labor. Lincoln alluded to the same idea in his 1858 “House Divided” speech. In the late 1850s the use of the phrase did not expressly include the assumption that the “irrepressible conflict” would be resolved through violence or armed conflict.

The Irrepressible Conflict doing its Work

“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad,” is a trite saying, and one entirely applicable to the Democratic party, as is evinced unmistakably the last few years. Not looking for the remote causes that acted potentially to bring about the crisis in modern Democracy, we see it as it is, and find it in a state a distraction, and daily getting into “confusion worse confounded.” Not to go farther back into the past than a few months, we behold the once “harmonious Democracy” divided in the State conventions, held to select delegates to the national convention, and in many cases two antagonistical sets of delegates were the results of opposing conventions in the same State and of the same party.

Part IV of our Civil War collection, A Midwestern Perspective, consists of seven newspapers published in Indiana between the years of 1855 and 1869. These items provide pre-and post-Civil War information, in addition to coverage of the Civil War itself.

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La_Amistad

Appeal on Behalf of the Amistad Africans

National Anti-Slavery Standard was established in 1840 by the husband and wife team of Lydia and David Child, who both were affirmed abolitionists as well as recognized successful writers (Lydia Child was the author of the poem “over the river and through the woods”). Using the motto “Without Concealment–Without Compromise” the Standard sought to extend the rights of slaves across the country.

Items like the one below focused on major events and topics amount the abolitionist community appeared regularly.   This plea for help for the Amistad  Africans appeared in the National Anti-Slavery Standard on October 7, 1841.

Appeal on Behalf of the La Amistad Africans

National Anti-Slavery StandardThe appeals heretofore made for funds for the defence, support and education of these Mendi Africans, have been successful, and the money, so generously contributed, has been economically expended, and with the happiest results. The sums contributed and the expenditures made have been published in the American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter and the New-York Journal of Commerce, for the information of the donors and all persons interested. The time has now arrived when another appeal has become necessary. Such facts have recently come to the knowledge of the Committee, respecting the native country of these Mendians, and the feasibility of their reaching their kindred and homes, if they can be sent to Sierra Leone, that it had been determined to send the whole body of them (now reduced to 35 in number) back to Africa the present autumn. They will leave in a vessel for Sierra Leone as soon as the necessary funds shall be contributed. The Committee have in view two ministers of the gospel, one white and one colored, to accompany them to Mendi, and take up their abode with them as religious teachers, so long as the providence of God shall direct; and they are desirous of engaging one or two more, to be associated with these brethren as missionaries to Mendi.

Contributions are earnestly requested. Remittances may be made by mail, or otherwise, directed to Lewis Tappan, No. 7, Dorr’s Building, corner of Hanover and Exchange streets, rear of Merchants’ Exchange. Donors, if they choose, can specify whether their donations shall go towards defraying the expenses of the passage to Sierra Leone, &c., or for the support of the religious teachers. If not otherwise directed, the Committee will appropriate the money according to their discretion.— All donations will be acknowledged, and a paper, containing the acknowledgment, sent to each donor. The expenditures will also be published, as heretofore. (more…)


When slave ships reached the Americas, the slaves were off-loaded and sold in slave markets, like the one pictured here in Atlanta (1860s).

The Slave-Market (1830-1860)

This is an excerpt Chapter IX of THE AMERICAN NATION: A HISTORY VOLUME 16; SLAVERY AND ABOLITION 1831–1841, one of the titles in our newest Civil War Collection – Part VII: Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books.

Part VII of our Civil War collection, Abraham Lincoln Library Abolitionist Books: Compiled by the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois this unique collection brings together a disparate group of abolitionist era reference materials.

CHAPTER IX: THE SLAVE-MARKET (1830–1860)

With very small exceptions the negro slave was absolutely subject to sale at such times, to such persons, and on such terms as pleased his master. The ownership was as absolute as that of a horse or a watch. Although prosperous masters commonly did not sell slaves, the threat of being “sent down the river” for bad conduct was often realized; and able-bodied slaves who began to lose their vigor and vitality were sometimes sold because no longer profitable as work-hands; or at the death of a master, especially if the estate went to several heirs, among whom the proceeds had to be divided. There was always an undercurrent of feeling that to part with one’s slaves was ignoble; hence the most frequent reason for selling was simply that the master was obliged to realize, either to pay for something that he wanted to buy, or because he was in debt.

Was it true, as charged by the abolitionists, that slaves were bred in the border states for no other purpose than to sell them? Probably the truth was expressed by the Mississippian who said:

“A man might not raise a nigger with a well-considered plan to sell him eighteen years after he was born; he might never sell a nigger, but for all that, it was the readiness with which he could command a thousand dollars for every likely boy he had, if he should ever need it, that made him stay here and be bothered with taking care of a gang of niggers who barely earned enough to enable his family to live decently.”

In many cases slaves passed simply from vendor to purchaser like fancy stock, but the usual way was to attract buyers by advertisements. Within two weeks there appeared in the columns of sixty-four southern newspapers advertisements for the sale of forty-one hundred negroes, besides thirty lots to be sold at auction, as, for example:

PRIVATE SALES. Excellent Cook. Will be sold at private sale, a Woman, about 22 years of age, an excellent cook, (meat and pastry) Plain Washer, etc. She is sound and healthy and can make herself generally useful.

The slave-traders had no social reward for this useful service; a traveller in a steamer noticed “that the planters on board … shunned all intercourse with this dealer, as if they regarded his business as scarcely respectable.”

However despised, the business was profitable. The private sales involved no public exhibition of the merchandise, and in many cases showed some regard to the preference of the slaves. The public sales brought out the worst side of the whole system. The north was shocked by such grouping of human and brute merchandise as:

SHERIFF’S SALE. I will sell at Fairfield Court House, 2 Negroes, 2 Horses and I Jennet, I pair of Cart Wheels, I Bedstead, I Riding Saddle. Sheriff’s Office, Nov. 19, 1852.

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liberator-1831-05-07

The Liberator: A Race for Liberty

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.

A Race for Liberty

ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD — ‘Ranaway from the subscriber, living in Washington City, on the 1st day of June, a Negro man, named Vincent Scoot. He is twenty-one years old, five feet, six or eight inches high, straight and well formed; he is an excellent house servant, carriage driver, and ostler; he acted as a waiter to my son Lieut. Henry Stewart, five years, in the Western army. He has a scar on his right arm, near the elbow, and about two and a half inches in length, and half an inch wide.’

— A Southern Paper

The above scar was no doubt received in rescuing his master from death, or fighting in defense of his country’s liberties, who, with five years’ campaign, together with shedding his blood in sustaining the independence of his county, is denied the pleasure of running away to enjoy it, while the humane master, instead of rewarding him for his services— offers a reward for his apprehension as a slave. The above sketch, delineated by a skillful hand, would make a beautiful frontispiece to the literary works of every American writer of taste.

— African Sentinel

Source:  The Liberator, May 7, 1831


uctoms

Anna: I Wish I Could Do Something

“Have you read Uncle Tom’s Cabin?” said a lady to her friend, a few days since. “Yes,” was the reply, “and O, how it makes me long to do something. Men ought to read it. All men ought to read it – they can do something.”

But cannot woman do something? True she cannot nor does she wish to go to the ballot-box, but lies there not a power back of this? Was not Hannibal ever an enemy in the Roman name? When only nine years old, his father made him take a solemn oath never to be at peace with Rome. Is not slavery a far greater foe to our country than was Rome to the Carthaginian nation? And O mothers, as we wish our country free of her greatest enemy, as we wish our children to enjoy the blessings of life, liberty, and happiness, temporal and eternal, let us follow the example of Hamilcar, and early and perseveringly teach our sons how vile, how dreadful a thing slavery is, let us teach them eternal hostility to slavery.

In the spirit of kindness let us show them the guilt and awful responsibility of those who, in any way, sustain this withering, blighting, heart-rending, soul-destroying curse of American Slavery. And O, as we value all the sacred endearments of home, as we love our husbands, as we cherish our babes and watch with jealous care lest some insidious foe tear them from our bosoms, let us feel for those mothers, with affections as deep, as strong, as holy as ours, whose little ones are snatched from them, not only by the tyrant Death, but by a more cruel, more dreadful tyrant Slavery, sustained by the laws of our free country. “O, these are noble laws – just laws – most equitable laws.”

How solemn the thought that from thousands of souls enslaved, is daily going up into the ear of Avenging Justice the cry, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our cause?” Why did Queen Mary “fear the prayers of John Knox more than an army of her enemies?” Can we not do something? Has the Christian power to prevail with God? Let our cry ascend before “the God of the earth,” not for judgment on the oppressor, but that God would give him a better heart, that he would “let the oppressed go free.”

Anna
From the Independent

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.

Source: Frederick Douglass’ Paper, July 9, 1852
Image Source: Uncle Tom’s cabin