South Never Imported Slaves From Africa
Long after New England and New York had abolished slavery their merchantmen continued to trade with Africa and sold their cargoes secretly along the American coast. Judge Joseph Story, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court presiding in Boston in 1834, charged “that although Massachusetts had freed their slaves, yet the slave trade was still going on and Boston merchants and Boston Christians were steeped to their eyebrows in its infamy. Twenty-four years later the Eastport, Maine-built “Wanderer,” equipped and crewed in New York, was seized and confiscated in 1858 and its officers arrested.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
The War Between the States Sesquicentennial:
Slavery Not Invented By the American South
“It is sad and mortifying that our young and middle-aged men and our graduates from Southern colleges know so little of our antebellum history. The Northern people are equally ignorant of the origin of slavery and the real causes that precipitated the civil war. Most of them have a vague idea that slavery was born and just grew up in the South—came up out of the ground like the seventeen-year-old locusts—and was our sin and our curse.
Not one in ten thousand will believe that the South never imported a slave from Africa, but got all we had by purchase from our Northern brethren. I would wager a thousand dollars against ten that not a man under fifty nor a schoolboy who lives North of the line knows or believes that General Grant, their great military hero and idol, was a slaveholder and lived off the hire and their services while he was fighting us about ours. Lincoln’s proclamation of freedom came in 1863, but General Grant paid no attention to it. He continued to use them as slaves until January, 1865. (See his biography by General James Grant Wilson in Appleton’s Encyclopedia.) General Grant owned these slaves in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived.
How many of this generation, North or South know, or will believe, that as late as November, 1861, Nathaniel Gordon, master of a New England slave ship called the Erie, was convicted in New York City of carrying on the slave trade? (See Appleton.) Just think of it! In 1861 our Northern brethren made was upon us because we enslaved the Negroes we had bought from them; but at the same time they kept on bringing more from Africa and begging us to buy them. How many know that England, our mother country, never emancipated her slaves until 1843, when twelve millions were set free in the East Indies and one hundred millions of dollars were paid to their owners by act of Parliament?
It is only within the last half-century that the importation of slaves from Africa has generally ceased. Up to that time every civilized country bought them and enslaved them. English statesmen and clergymen said it was better to bring them away than to have them continue in their barbarism and cannibalism. I believe it was God’s providence that they should be brought away and placed in slavery, but the way it was done was inhuman and brutal.”
(The Uncivil War To Date, 1865 To 1903, 1881 Atlanta address of General Henry R. Jackson,” Bill Arp, Hudgins Publishing Company. 1903, pp 351-353)