Southerners Resist British & New England Slavers
It was not slave ships flying the Confederate Battle Flag that populated Britain’s American colonies with African slave labor, but “English merchants and factors” flying the Union Jack. And they were assisted by the New Englander’s sharp eye for a quick profit, trading Massachusetts rum for the ebony captives of African tribes.
Bernhard Thuersam, Director
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Southerners Resist British & New England Slavers:
“On account of the dangers of navigation off the coast of North Carolina ships engaged in the African slave trade seldom, if ever, brought their cargoes direct to the colony. Relative to these conditions, [Royal] Governor Burrington said:
“Great is the loss this country has in not being supplied by vessels from Guinea with Negroes. In any part of the province the people are able to pay for a shipload; but as none come directly from Africa, we are under necessity to buy the refuse, refractory, and distempered Negroes brought in from other governments.”
Under such circumstances, it is not surprising that that on occasion the early planters sent cargoes of tar and pitch to New England to be sold and the proceeds to be invested in young Negroes. English merchants and
factors from about 1770 to 1776 did not hesitate to sell Negroes to South Carolina planters on liberal terms, and during those years the colony prospered”
On the eve of the Revolution an attempt was made to prohibit the slave trade. The Provincial Congress in session at New Bern [North Carolina], August 27, 1774, resolved,
“We will not import any slave or slaves, nor purchase any slave or slaves imported or brought into this province by others from any part of the world after the first day of November next. This resolution was passed in conformity with a resolve of the Continental Congress, and its enforcement was designed to strike a blow at British [slave] commerce.
The first impressive protest from any considerable body of citizens in the colony against the African slave trade was registered by the freeholders of Rowan County [North Carolina] in 1774. They placed themselves on record
in the following resolution:
“Resolved that the African slave trade is injurious to this colony, obstructs the population of it, prevents manufacturers and other useful emigrants from Europe from settling among us, and occasions an annual
increase of the balance of trade against the colonies.”
(Slaveholding in North Carolina, An Economic View, Rosser Howard Taylor, UNC Press, 1926, pp. 21-22)