Tag Archives: South Carolina
Beaufort County, South Carolina

Slavery in the Early Carolina Colony Days

This passage on the early years of slavery in South Carolina appears in the opening pages of Beaufort County South Carolina — Its Shrines and Early History.

The Need for Labor

Servants were most difficult to get in the early Carolina days. All manner of land grants and gratuities were were offered the servant immigrant from England and Ireland—provided, of course, they were Protestant. But these servants at that time somehow preferred to go further north and up towards Virginia and Maryland and largely to the tobacco lands.

Furthermore, there white servants did not seem adapted to the Carolina coast work; and, furthermore, mortality among them was heavy for we are told so hard was the life for them in the culture of indigo and in the rice swamps. In the ten years prior to 1708 we are told that eighty men and women servants actually had been lost to the colonies, most all of them by death.

Slavery in those days for the slave holder was altogether respectable. To these big Carolina land owners who wanted to grow indigo and rice and who wanted themselves to live in the highlands in mid-summer — to these men the importation of slaves became a necessity.

Furthermore, these Africans as imported were adaptable to the work and to the place and were such ideal laborers and whose labor, too, was so sensationally cheap that we find the Lords Proprietors encouraging slave importation by a head-right of fifty acres. These slaves, therefore, solved the labor problem for these coast plantations.

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