No Stars & Bars Atop the Masts
A grim reminder of who was responsible for the continued importation of African slaves to the western hemisphere. The African kings were more than ready to enrich themselves with the sale of their own people; and they took no Confederate money in the exchange.
Bernhard Thuersam, Executive Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Post Office Box 328
Wilmington, NC 28402
No Stars & Bars Atop the Masts:
"On July 27, 1807, a ship of three hundred tons burthen, mounting eighteen guns on her deck….the Kitty’s Amelia, (of) Captain Hugh Crow, having assembled her crew of sixty from the Liverpool jails and crimping houses…having filled the slave-deck and the hold with Manchester cottons, Birmingham muskets, Sheffield cutlery…dropped with an ebb tide past the Black Rock of Liverpool and set her course for the Guinea coast. She was the last legal slaver to leave an English port.
Finally, after a passage of seven weeks, they reached the Coast of Calbary and anchored in Bonny River….where the slavers lay below the town, in seven fathoms of water; where fifteen vessels, English and French…(awaited slave cargoes). Here Captain Crow ordered his gig to be lowered, and was grandly rowed ashore to hold a palaver with (African) King Holiday over the price of slaves.
Even before his arrival (in Africa), the abolition of the slave trade had been announced at Bonny. The natives heard the news without enthusiasm. Because of the trade, (their countrymen) had been carried by the millions across the Atlantic; but they had been enriched by the thousands, and these fortunate thousands were the (African) kings, the traders and the cabosheers, the men in power. Slavery was their economic system and their justice. Their work was performed by slaves; their wealth was estimated in slaves; their gunpowder, rum, and cotton were purchased (with) slaves. At law, slavery was almost the only punishment for crime.
(After the legal slave trade was abolished, a) new slave trade…developed after the Napoleonic wars…(and) one discovers that the headquarters of the smugglers are in Cuba or on the Florida Keys; the capital for their venture is generally obtained from New York. The illegal slave trade was a hothouse in which cruelty flourished, like some cancerous plant of the tropics. Yet few of the captains was as cruel as Captain Homans of the Brilliante. They were held in check, some by their natural humanity, some by sound principles of trade. There was no profit in corpses.
In order to deliver their cargoes in good health, fat, not too dejected, ready for the auction block, most smugglers treated their slaves with…rather more kindliness…than honest sailors of the same period showed to Irish or German immigrants, whose lives were of value only to themselves."
(Adventures of an African Slaver, Life of Captain Theodore Canot, Malcolm Cowley, editor, Star Books, 1928, pp. xi-xvii)
"What passes as standard American history is really Yankee history written by New Englanders or their puppets to glorify Yankee heroes and ideals."
— Dr. Grady McWhitney