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from: Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology, M.I. Finley [see 1128], Master of Darwin College and Professor Emeritus of Ancient History in the University of Cambridge, Chatto & Windus, 1980. [note: M.I. Finley, is a superb critic]. [Imagine, the ramifications of the subjects, in this book].


Although slaves have been exploited in most societies as far back as any records exist, there have been only FIVE GENUINE SLAVE SOCIETIES, two of them in antiquity: classical Greece and classical Italy. This book is about those two societies, examined not in isolation but, in so far as that is meaningful, in comparison with the other three (all in the New World)....

Over the past twenty-five years, the study of slavery in the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil has reached an intensity without precedent....MODERN SLAVERY WAS BLACK SLAVERY...." [9].

"The dominant trend [of the Enlightenment] was opposed to slavery, though Voltaire and Montesquieu were rather ambiguous in contrast to the unqualified hostility of Diderot or Holbach.23 Not even the latter [Holbach], it is worth saying, condemned slavery more bitterly, or with greater knowledge of the Greek and Roman sources, than Jean Bodin in the sixteenth century (République, Bk. I, ch. 5)." [20].

"I quote from a recent American study in which it was calculated that even on the low estimate that a mere 1.92% of the slave population of the southern states were sold in any given year, the statistical consequence was that any given slave had a virtually 50% 'chance of being sold at least once in the course of a 35-year lifetime' and on average 'would witness 11.4 sales of members of his family of origin and of his own immediate family'. After all allowance is made for personal, regional and temporal variations, the authors rightly conclude that 'the threat of sale was sufficiently large to affect the life of every slave'.27" [76-77].

"In 1860 the slaves made up 33% of the population in the southern states of the United States, a slightly lower percentage in Cuba and Brazil.36 On conservative estimates--60,000 slaves in Athens at the end of the fifth century B.C., 2,000,000 in Italy at the end of the Republic--the comparable percentages are in precisely the same range, about 30 [% of the population of Athens] and 35% [of the population of Italy] respectively. That is more than sufficient, especially since the signs all say that slaveowners in antiquity were found considerably lower in the social and economic scale than in the New World,37 and since this proportion of slaves was retained in antiquity over a long period of time: the entire history of slavery in the United States lasted no more than the period from Augustus [1st Roman Emperor: 27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E. (63 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.)] to Septimius Severus [Emperor 193 - 211 (146 - 211)]." [80].

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"Prostitution is only one aspect.14 More interesting in the present context is the direct sexual exploitation of slaves by their masters and the latter's family and friends. Trimalchio may have been a character of fiction, but he reflected the real world in his reminiscences: 'For fourteen years I pleasured him; it is no disgrace to do what a master commands. I also gave my mistress satisfaction' (Petronius, Satyricon 75.11). And Horace was not being satirical when he recommended his own preference for household slaves, male or female: 'I like my sex easy and ready to hand' (Satires 1.2.116-19). The ethical position was summed up by the elder Seneca [c. 55 B.C.E. - c. 39 C.E.], with reference to the passive partner in buggery: 'Unchastity (impudicitia) is a crime in the freeborn, a necessity for a slave, a duty (officium) for the freedman.'15

Yet another dehumanizing device was the habit of addressing, or referring to, male slaves of any age as 'boy', pais in Greek, puer in Latin,16 a practice familiar from other societies as well (and extended in non-slave societies to men performing domestic service)." [96].

"After the final suppression in 71 B.C. of the revolt led by Spartacus [see #16, 351], the road from Capua to Rome was lined with 6000 crucified slaves (Appian, Civil War 1.120). Concern for the property rights of their owners was drowned by the greater need of teaching the slave population as a whole an unforgettable lesson. Raison d'état ["reason of State"] could also provoke action in the opposite direction: war emergencies, both foreign and civil, sometimes compelled the recruitment of slaves into battle as combatants.28 The Athenians did this for the first time at Marathon in 490 B.C., freeing the slaves beforehand. But they buried and memorialized the dead slaves (together with the Plateans) separately from their own fallen. No surviving classical writer refers to the incident, not even Herodotus, who did not hesitate to mention helot soldiers. Were it not for Pausanias, writing more than 600 years later, we should not have known that slaves fought at Marathon.29" [99].

"Aristotle [384 - 322 B.C.E.]...developed in the first book of the Politics, that slavery is a natural institution and therefore 'good and just'....

Most Greeks and Romans, at any rate, were neither philosophers nor theorists, and they went on cheerfully believing, with Herodotus [c. 485 - c. 425 B.C.E.], that--barring the inevitable exceptions--slaves as a class were inferior beings inferior in their psychology, by their nature. That is the implication, for example, underlying the commonplace in Roman Republican [Roman Republic 509 (508) B.C.E. - 31 (27) B.C.E.] [Roman Imperial Period 27 B.C.E. - 465? C.E.] speeches that Jews, Syrians, Lydians, Medes, indeed all Asiatics, are 'born to slavery'.99...." [119].

"a theory of natural slavery is demonstrably implicit throughout his [Plato c. 428 - 348 or 347 B.C.E.] work and one may safely conclude that he [Plato] would have agreed essentially with Aristotle's argument.106 And after Aristotle? The simple answer is that he produced not only the first but also the last formal, systematic analysis of the subject in antiquity, so far as we know." [120].

"It is among the latter, notably Seneca [Seneca "the Younger" 4 B.C.E.? - 65 C.E.], Epictetus [c. 55 - c. 135] and Dio Chrysostom [c. 40 - c. 112], that the well known

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disquisitions on slavery, which loom so large in modern accounts, are to be found, and they are marked by a 'total disinterest in any political or social issues'.107 No doubt they were decent in intention, but THE RHETORIC AGAINST EXCESS AND BRUTALITY, DIRECTED TO THE MASTERS, PREACHED OBEDIENCE TO THE SLAVES. That was equally true of the early Christians, from the Gospels to St. Augustine. Apart from the injection of original sin into the concept of natural slavery, and their concern with such peculiar problems as the legality of the ownership of Christian slaves by Jewish masters, NEITHER THE NEW TESTAMENT NOR THE CHURCH FATHERS ADDED ANYTHING SIGNIFICANT TO THE RHETORIC OF THE ROMAN STOICS.

This is not the usual reading of either Roman Stoics or Church Fathers...." [120-121].

"The humanitas of Seneca and Pliny [Pliny "the Younger" 61 or 62 - c. 113 C.E.], like the occasional piece of imperial legislation ameliorating this or that brutality with respect to slaves, which no doubt helped individual slaves in their personal relations (in so far as the laws were enforceable and enforced), served to reinforce the institution [slavery] itself, not to weaken it. Plato had understood that long before (Laws 6.777 D-E).109 And everyone was agreed that the institution must be preserved. On two separate occasions the emperor Constantine [Emperor 306 - 337 (280? - 337)] issued rulings protecting masters who, in the exercise of their 'domestic authority', had beaten their slaves to death (Theodosian Code 9.12.1,2): they 'shall be free from blame if by correcting the wickedest actions they wanted to obtain better conduct of their servants. It is our wish that in such actions...there shall be no inquiry...into whether the punishment appears to have been with the intention of killing the man or simply as punishment.'" [121-122].

"Most of the conquering was completed by the death of Augustus in A.D. 14; why did the supposed supply deficiency not begin to bite within a generation?15 First of all, the gap between the formal legal rules and the practice was a large one here, too. A century ago Mommsen [see Addition 21, 1090] noticed that, almost without exception, the individual slaves whose origins are specified in literary or epigraphical sources were either from Italy or from provinces within the empire. Subsequent inquiry has confirmed that observation.16 Many of these 'internal' slaves came on to the market through breeding or through the accepted practice of 'exposing' unwanted infants,17 but many also through the illegal activities, such as kidnapping or the purchase of freeborn children, that helped keep the slave dealers in business. Secondly, although the massive aggression of the previous centuries had come to an end with Augustus, war did not, and war captives continued to be sold into slavery as regularly as before--under the Julio-Claudians ["the four successors of Augustus" 14 - 68 C.E.], the Antonines 138 - 180 (192)], the Severi [193 - 465] and thereafter. Finally, the slave traders had free access to all the territories outside Roman rule, the Germanic world in particular. Historians somehow forget this, presumably because of the tacit and unsupported assumption that Germans were unsatisfactory as slaves. Yet large-scale trading in Germans can be documented from the third, fourth and fifth centuries, and I do not understand why modern historians should think that they were an inferior source to the other 'barbarian' peoples who had proved perfectly adequate for centuries, among the Greeks as among the Romans." [128-129].

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"Neither exhortations [of "Stoics or Christians"] nor the rare legal enactments to treat slaves decently were anti-slavery measures in intention or effect. After Constantine ruled in 315 that slaves condemned to work in the mines or to fight in the arena were to be branded on the hands or legs, not on the face (Theodosian Code 9.40.2), prudent slaveowners who in the past had branded fugitives turned to inscribed bronze collars instead--thirty-five such collars have been found so far, one from Sardinia naming the slaveowner as Felix the archdeacon.13 Little trace of abolitionism can be detected there, any more than in the series of papal and conciliar rulings, from the early fifth century, restricting and even forbidding the manumission of SLAVES WHO WERE THE PROPERTY OF THE CHURCH OR OF CLERICS.14 CHURCH PROPERTY, IT WAS SAID REPEATEDLY, MUST BE PRESERVED." [127-128].

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from: Faiths of Man Encyclopedia of Religions, J.G.R. Forlong [1824 - 1904], Introduction by Margery Silver, University Books, In Three Volumes, Volume 3, N-Z, 1964 (1906).

'Slavery. NO RELIGION IN THE PAST FORBADE SLAVERY. As Renan [Ernest Renan 1823 - 1892] says: "THERE IS NOT ONE WORD IN ALL CHRISTIAN LITERATURE THAT TELLS THE SLAVE TO REVOLT, OR THE MASTER TO FREE THE SLAVE, or that touches the problem of public right which arises out of slavery [this clause?]."

[The oldest account of slavery is found in the Babylonian laws of Hammurabi [reign: 1792 - 1750 B.C.E. (Encyc. Brit.)]. Twenty out of 280 of these laws refer to slaves. It was death to steal a slave, to entice, or harbour, or hide a runaway, or to rebrand a lost slave. The slave who struck a freeman, or who denied his master, had his ear cut off. He who branded a slave indelibly (to prevent purchase) had his hand cut off. If a slave was killed, a slave must be given instead. If a slave was damaged half his value must be paid. A foreign slave must be returned to his master unless purchased. The fee for catching a runaway, for curing a slave, or the fine for failing to cure, was 2 shekels (or about 5 shillings and 8 pence): a slave purchased could be returned within a month, and the bargain was cancelled, if he fell ill; freemen could be sold as slaves if they failed to keep up the banks of the canals on which irrigation depended. These laws, which regard slaves as cattle, are more severe than those of the Pentateuch.--ED.]

The later Babylonians introduced some mitigation in the lot of the slave, who was apprenticed to learn a trade, and supported when old and infirm: a master who injured his slave was bound to clothe and feed him, and they could purchase freedom. An old and faithful slave could not be sold, and was sometimes given freedom at his master's death.

The ROMANS were great slave-holders, and IMPORTED some MILLIONS OF CAPTURED WHITE SLAVES. The ruin of the empire is thought to have been partly due to this system, and THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY WAS FACILITATED BY THE DISCOVERY THAT SLAVE LABOUR IS IN THE END UNPROFITABLE. But even in recent times Christian statesmen upheld what they called a "divine institution": for according to the oldest Hebrew laws a slave was property (Exod. xxi, 21). A Hebrew could not be permanently enslaved by a Hebrew, save by his own consent (xxi, 2-6), and slaves were foreigners (Levit. xxv, 44): Christianity regarded slavery as unimportant, in view of the immediate end of the world (1 Cor. vii, 21-24; Ephes. vi, 5-9; Col. iii, 22-24). PROTESTANTS KIDNAPPED 30 [apparently, much overestimated. Now, the estimated total (was) is 10-11 million (see 1138, 1156). Percentage related to "Protestants kidnapped"?] MILLIONS OF "BLACKS," WHOM THEY ENSLAVED IN N. AMERICA. Moslems continue to import such slaves to Jeddah, and secret slave markets exist in such towns as Jerusalem and Damascus. Muhammad, though he freed his own slaves, and made laws to mitigate the condition of slaves generally, never contemplated the abolition of slavery. No Church or Pope ever pleaded the cause of the slave, though in 1167 Pope Alexander III decreed that "Christian men ought to be exempt from slavery." The good men who first advocated abolition were mainly found among those who had emancipated themselves from

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State Churches, in Britain, and in America alike. Buddhists who really followed Gotama condemned slavery; and philosophers like Seneca [c. 4 B.C.E. - 65 C.E.] protested against it. Constantine decreed that slaves owned by Jews were to be freed if they embraced Christianity, but that a free woman who gave herself to a pagan slave was to be burned, and the slave executed. Only in 867 did the Church concern itself with slaves' marriages; for the pious Theodosius [apparently, Theodosius II Roman Emperor 408 - 450 (401 - 450)] held that "slaves were too vile to be worthy of legal notice." Even in 1832 Mr Gladstone [William Ewart Gladstone 1809 - 1898 (British Prime Minister)] only proposed that CHRISTIAN CONVERTS SHOULD BE EMANCIPATED; and his father was a slave owner. Christian slaves were not permitted to partake of the Eucharist without their master's consent, as decided by the Council of Laodicea [c. 363]; and in 541 A.C. the Council of Orleans required that the descendants of slaves should be re-enslaved. The Council of Toledo in 633 A.C. forbade bishops to set free church slaves, or to sell Christian slaves to any but Christians, and other Councils made laws about slaves down to 1179 A.C. The Abbey of St Germain des Prés owned 80,000 slaves, and that of St. Martin de Tours 20,000. Wilberforce [William Wilberforce 1759 - 1833], and Theodore Parker [1810 - 1860], stated that, in their time, AMERICAN CHURCHES SUPPORTED SLAVERY: PRESBYTERIANS OWNED 80,000 SLAVES: BAPTISTS 225,000, AND METHODISTS 250,000. Many theological colleges hired out their slaves; and the northern states--including Boston--refused to allow Liberationists to lecture, calling them infidels, and deniers of the commands of holy writ. Prof. Francis Newman [1805 - 1897] points out that Republican France was the first European state to make an act against slavery. In 1788 the "Society for the Propagation of the Gospel" refused to allow slaves to be educated, lest they should rebel (see Westminster Review, Dec. 1888).' [319-320] [End of entry].

Excursus: from: Colonization and Christianity: A Popular History of the Treatment of the Natives by the Europeans in all their Colonies, William Howitt [1792 - 1879], Negro Universities Press, 1969 (1838).

"We are still strutting about in the borrowed plumes of Christianity, and daring to call God our father, though WE ARE BECOME THE TORMENTORS OF THE HUMAN RACE FROM CHINA TO PERU, AND FROM ONE POLE TO THE OTHER!* [see footnote, below]" [502-503].

[footnote] "*Everything connected with this trade [slavery] is astonishing. Queen Elisabeth eagerly embarked in it in 1563, and sent the notorious John Hawkins, knighted by her for this and similar deeds, out to Sierra Leone for a human cargo, with four vessels, three of which, as if it were the most pious of expeditions, bore the names of JESUS! SOLOMON! and JOHN THE BAPTIST!--See Hakluyt's Voyages." [503].

[from 1155 (see 1136): "The ship in which Hawkins [Sir John Hawkins [1532 - 1595 (see Webster's Bio. Dict.)] commenced the [slave] trade was named THE JESUS....'"].

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from: A Rationalist Encyclopaedia, A Book of Reference on Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and Science, Joseph McCabe, Watts, 1950 (1948).

["Slavery."] 'Brace says that "THE GUILT OF THIS GREAT CRIME [SLAVERY] RESTS UPON THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH AS AN ORGANIZED BODY" (reference above ["Gesta Christi, 4th ed., 1885, p. 365"]). It is the same with the initiation of the trade. It is usual to blame this upon Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas, and Tabrum, for the Christian Evidence Society, protests that Fiske has shown, in his Discovery of America that this is a "gross historical blunder." What Fiske, like every other impartial historian, tells is that Las Casas, who certainly did not like slavery, found that the Spaniards made the Indians hostile to Christianity by virtually enslaving them, and concluded that if there had to be choice between the two kinds of slavery, Indian or African, the latter--especially as the blacks could be made Christians--was to be preferred. He submitted this to Church and State in Spain, and the theologians concurred that the Church did not condemn slavery. Whatever measure of influence we ascribe to Las Casas, the plan was adopted, and the Churches of Spain, Portugal, France, England, and the American colonies, blessed the hideous traffic.' [546-547].

'The English Parliament authorized it ["hideous [slave] traffic"] in 1708, and the most famous trader, Sir John Hawkins, who was so pious that he gave such names as "Jesus" to his ships, was knighted for his success. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel employed slaves on its estates in the West Indies, and there were 80,000 black slaves in London as late as 1760 (Independent Review, October 1905). The American Churches, Anglican, Methodist, and Baptist, owned 600,000 slaves, and "the authority of nearly all the leading denominations was against the abolitionists," says J. Macy in the chief and impartial recent American work (The Anti-Slavery Crusade, 1920, p. 74). The Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian authorities, he shows, expelled any minister who advocated abolition. It was the Deists Franklin and Paine, inspired by the "infidel" literature of France, who initiated the protest--the first shot was Paine's African Slavery in America (1775)--and the effective Abolitionist movement in the nineteenth century was led by Rationalists [see Garrison; Lincoln; etc.] In England, Locke [see] first attacked slavery (in his Treatise on Civil Government, 1689), calling it a "vile and miserable estate of man." THE CHURCH STILL REMAINED SILENT--Tabrum sophistically quotes clerics, whose protest was against the cruelties practised in the trade--while the Deistic and Atheistic protest in France gathered strength and was echoed in England (Pope, Adam Smith, etc.). The standard authority on the English movement is the History of the Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade (2 vols., 1808) of T. Clarkson, who, with Wilberforce, organized the first committee. It does not tell that Wilberforce [see] derived the idea from Rationalist literature in his sceptical youth, or that Clarkson was inspired by the Quakers. It is enough here to say that a few clergymen out of the many thousands, joined the movement, but it was powerless until it was taken up by the great Rationalists, Fox and Pitt, in the Government, and by Bentham in the country. The Churches, with the story of three centuries of barbarism unfolded before them, were still dumb, and one has the usual difficulty, of understanding the mentality of Christian writers who boast that a dozen ministers, out of the tens of thousands who had seen the horrors of slavery, concluded that it was not in accord with Christian principles.' [547] [End of entry].

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from: American Slavery, 1619-1877, Peter Kolchin, Consulting Editor: Eric Foner; Hill and Wang, 1993.

[The "Bibliographical Essay", 257-291, is superb!]. [a Classic!].


Origins and Consolidation


Although Americans like to think that the United States was "conceived in liberty," the reality is somewhat different. ALMOST FROM THE BEGINNING, AMERICA WAS HEAVILY DEPENDENT ON COERCED LABOR, and by the early eighteenth century slavery, legal in all of British America, was the dominant labor system of the Southern colonies. MOST OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS WERE LARGE-SCALE SLAVE OWNERS, including George Washington, "father of his country," Patrick Henry, author of the stirring cry "Give me liberty or give me death," and Thomas Jefferson, who proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal." Indeed, eight of the United States's first twelve Presidents, in office for forty-nine of the new nation's first sixty-one years, were slaveholders. When, beginning about 1830, a small band of abolitionists boldly proclaimed that slavery was a dreadful sin, the majority of Americans, North as well as South, regarded them as fanatics whose provocative rantings threatened the well-being of the Republic....' [3].

"Although slavery has exhibited such extraordinary diversity over time and space that it might seem virtually impossible to generalize about its nature, a particular type of slavery, which exhibited certain common features, emerged in the Western (that is, European-derived) world in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Most prevalent in the New World (the Americas), although it also existed in other areas of European colonization (such as South Africa), this modern Western slavery was a product of European expansion [Imperialism!] and was preeminently a system of labor. It emerged to meet the pervasive labor shortage that developed wherever landholders tried to grow staple crops--sugar, coffee, tobacco, rice, and later cotton--for market in areas of population scarcity. Spreading slowly at first, it assumed enormous proportions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and [slavery] helped propel the economic transformation of the leading colonial powers, especially Great Britain." [5].

'For a variety of reasons, however, Indian slavery never reached very substantial proportions on the British-controlled American mainland. Colonists complained that Indians were "haughty" and refused to work properly. Behind such complaints lay the very real refusal of many Indian men to perform agricultural labor, traditionally seen by them as women's work, and to engage in disciplined, supervised labor, to which they were unaccustomed. Equally important, the Indians used their

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familiarity with the terrain to escape and conspire against their captors. Because it has historically been difficult to enslave people on their home turf, the English found it convenient to export Indians captured in battle rather than hold them locally; in 1676, for example, after Massachusetts settlers crushed the bloody Indian uprising they termed King Philip's War, the head of the rebel leader Metacom [c. 1638 - 1676 (see Encyc. Brit., 1997, v. 8, 56)] was exhibited on a pole as an example to other would-be insurrectionists, but many of his followers (including his wife and son) were sold as slaves to the West Indies. Finally, there were simply not enough Indians in the colonies to fill the settler's labor needs. Many--in some areas most--died in massive epidemics that swept through a population without immunity to such European diseases as smallpox and measles, while others perished in battle. Ultimately, the policy of killing the Indians or driving them away from white settlements proved incompatible with their widespread employment as slaves.' [8].

'Scholars have long debated the number of Africans brought to the New World. The first scholarly "census," by Philip Currin in 1969, yielded a preliminary estimate of 9.5 million, a figure that has since gradually inched upward as researchers have continued to discover new evidence. Although precise figures must remain elusive, ACCORDING TO THE BEST CURRENT ESTIMATES A TOTAL OF 10 TO 11 MILLION LIVING SLAVES CROSSED THE ATLANTIC OCEAN FROM THE SIXTEENTH THROUGH THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. (Since OTHERS DIED IN WARS AND IN TRANSIT, Africa's total population loss was much greater.) As David Eltis has shown, the forced migration of slaves to the Americas significantly exceeded the voluntary immigration there of free persons until the 1830s, and the cumulative total of African migrants exceeded that of Europeans until the 1880s. [see 1134, 1156]

America absorbed relatively few of these Africans. The great bulk--more than 85 percent of the total--went to Brazil and the various Caribbean colonies of the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch. Others went to the Spanish mainland. The United States, or more accurately for most of the slave-trade years the colonies that would later become the United States, imported only 600,000 to 650,000 Africans, some 6 percent of all the slaves brought from Africa to the New World.

From this small beginning, however, emerged by far the largest slave population in the Western Hemisphere. The key to this apparent paradox lies in the self-reproducing nature of the slave population in the United States, where well before the importation of slaves was legally ended in 1808 an excess of births over deaths produced what demographers refer to as "natural population growth." Virtually everywhere else in the Americas--Brazil, Jamaica, Cuba, Saint Domingue--slavery was dependent on continued importation of Africans; once that importation ended, the slave population declined. Thus, in 1810, the 1.1 million slaves in the United States constituted almost twice the total number it had imported from Africa during the preceding two centuries; during the next fifty years, the slave population more than tripled again, to almost 4 million in 1860. By contrast, Brazil and the Caribbean were graveyards for Africans and their descendants....' [22].

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The Colonial Era


Throughout its history, American slavery evolved and changed. Although the process of evolution was continuous, it is convenient for analytical purposes to divide that history into two broad chronological periods, colonial (lasting until about 1770) and antebellum (beginning about 1800), separated by the era of the American Revolution. Although colonial slavery lasted more than twice as long as antebellum, the latter has received substantially more attention from historians, in part because the sources available for studying it are more abundant and in part because in the middle of the nineteenth century slavery became the central issue in a national political debate that led to a bloody civil war. Recently, however, scholars have begun to subject colonial slavery to more intense scrutiny, in the process making clearer how slavery changed over time...." [28].

'At the time of his death in 1732, Robert "King" Carter was probably the wealthiest man in Virginia, with 390 slaves of working age; these slaves, however, were located on 48 different holdings, with only 23 residing on his home plantation. Newly imported Africans often received their training in the quarters, where overseers could resort to extreme measures to break the recalcitrance of those who resisted new ways, while planters filled their home plantations with "country-born" slaves or Africans who had learned to conform to what was expected of them. Multiple holdings remained widespread among the "gentry" in the second half of the eighteenth century, but with fewer Africans arriving in the Chesapeake, planters felt less compelled to keep their slaves divided into very small groups, and the size of holdings increased; in 1770, Robert Carter III (King Carter's grandson) kept about 100 slaves at his home estate of Nomini Hall and had some 250 more scattered among 12 plantations in 4 counties. In 1774, Thomas Jefferson held 45 slaves on his Monticello plantation and 142 others on 6 additional holdings; in 1786, George Washington kept 67 of his 216 slaves (the majority of whom were legally the property of his wife, Martha) at his Home House, with the remainder located on 5 other plantations.' [33].


Born in violence, slavery survived by the lash. Beginning with the initial slave trade that tore Africans away from everything they knew and sent them in chains to a distant land to toil for strangers, every stage of master-slave relations depended either directly or indirectly on physical coercion. The routine functioning of Southern farms and plantations rested on the authority of the owners and their representatives, supported by the state, to inflict pain on their human property. Plenty of pain was inflicted.

Slave owners directed especially repressive measures against Africans, for newly imported slaves offered pervasive resistance to the conditions under which they found themselves. They ignored the Anglicized names their owners awarded them;

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they refused to perform the new tasks they were assigned; they ran away; and they sometimes lashed out in anger at their oppressors, inflicting injury and even death. New slaves, in short, needed to be "broken in," made to accept their status, a goal that required close supervision, routine application of the lash, and willingness to take draconian measures against those who refused to toe the line.

Slaves who transgressed could look forward to a wide range of gruesome punishments--most imposed informally by owners and overseers but some officially meted out upon sentence by special slave courts that existed in all the Southern colonies--including branding; nose slitting; amputation of ears, toes, and fingers (and less often of hands and feet); castration; and burning at the stake. Although such punishments must be seen in the context of widespread use of corporal punishment in the seventeenth century against the "lower orders" of whites, the level of repression directed at slaves, especially Africans, was of a different magnitude from that experienced by white Americans, both because such repression was seen as necessary for the establishment and preservation of slavery and because slaves were powerless to stop it.' [57-58].

'William Byrd's [1674 - 1744 ("American planter")] diary is filled with accounts of beatings and whippings, and in 1710 he casually observed that "my wife against my will caused little Jeremy to be burned with a hot iron, for which I quarreled with her." (One suspects that he was annoyed primarily because the girl was burned against his will, not because she was burned.)[.] Methodist minister Charles Wesley [1707 - 1788 (see Ox. Dict. C.C.)] was shocked, upon first visiting South Carolina in 1736, at the routine talk among slave owners of ingenious punishments designed to make slaves suffer; one "gentleman" recommended that one "first nail up a negro by the ears, then order him to be whipped in the severest manner, and then to have scalding water thrown over him, so that the poor creature could not stir for four months after," while others spoke of extracting teeth and performing bodily mutilations.

"Good God! Are these Christians?" exclaimed New Jersey-born tutor Philip Fithian upon hearing of similar tortures during his year-long sojourn in Virginia in 1773--74. In Louisiana, a free Negro convicted of torturing and killing a white girl was sentenced in 1780 to have her right hand cut off before being hanged; the court ordered that after her death her head should be "stuck up upon a pole at her former place of residence" with "her right hand to be nailed to the same Post."16' [58].

"The American Revolution"

'A reaction against the more radical tendencies present in the American Revolution--spurred in part by revulsion over the excesses of the French Revolution--increasingly led statesmen in the new nation to espouse a conservative strand of republican thought that emphasized protection of property and order rather than equality. (In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson had substituted "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" for John Locke's [1632 - 1704] "life, liberty and property.") By the time of his death in 1809, Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809], that fiery exponent of republican egalitarianism who had at one time captured the imagination of a fledgling nation struggling against despotism and privilege, was widely reviled as a radical and an infidel; the former hero died in obscure poverty, his funeral attended by only six persons, including a Quaker and two blacks.' [86].

PAGE 1140

'Jefferson [1743 - 1826 (3rd President 1801 - 1809)] never renounced his belief that slavery was wrong, but as he aged he abandoned his youthful conviction that it could readily be abolished. In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, rejected as too inflammatory by the Continental Congress, he had denounced George III for foisting slavery on the colonies, noting that that monarch "wagged cruel war against human nature itself, violating the most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him." Unlike many others of his generation, however, Jefferson harbored serious doubts that blacks' "depravity" could be attributed entirely to their slave status, and he expressed strong views on what he considered their innate racial characteristics. In his celebrated Notes on the State of Virginia [my source: U. North Carolina, 1955, 138] (written in 1781--82 and published in 1785), he argued that blacks were physically unattractive-- maintaining that they displayed a "preference" for whites "as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan [Oran-ootan] [Orang-outang] for the black woman [women] over those of his own species"--stressed their deficiency in reasoning, and proclaimed that "in imagination they are dull, tasteless, and anomalous."' [88].

'Jefferson's opposition to slavery always rested more on the harm it did to whites than on the harm it did to blacks, and after the Revolution he grew increasingly cautious in his criticism of the peculiar institution, increasingly concerned about the perils of too reckless an assault on the very basis of the South's social fabric. By 1805, although still believing that anti-slavery sentiment was on the rise, Jefferson admitted that he had "long since given up the expectation of any early provision for the extinguishment of slavery among us." Nine years later, forced to concede that emancipation sentiment was not spreading among the next generation, he had abandoned hope for any near-term end to slavery, contenting himself instead with advocating humane treatment of its victims: "My [Jefferson] opinion has ever been that, until more can be done for them, we should endeavor, with those whom fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed & clothe them well, protect them from ill usage, require such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen, and be led by no repugnancies to abdicate them, and our duties to them. The laws do not permit us to turn them loose, [even] if that were for their good." ....

Concern for order, property rights, and their own economic security exceeded interest in the rights of their slaves among all but the most exceptional slave owners; even Jefferson failed to free his slaves, either during his lifetime or upon his death.'


"Antebellum Slavery: Organization, Control, Paternalism"

'Antebellum Southern publicists increasingly bombarded the reading public with admonitions to take good care of their people, looking after their physical needs, spiritual welfare, and general happiness. As Presbyterian minister (and Georgia slave owner) Charles C. Jones argued in The Religious Instruction of the Negroes (1842), blacks "were placed under our control...not exclusively for our benefit but theirs also," so they could receive moral and religious uplift; "we cannot disregard this obligation thus divinely imposed, without forfeiting our humanity, our gratitude, our consistency, and our claim to the spirit of christianity itself." Although there was a strong

PAGE 1141

propagandistic element to such public discourse--defenders of slavery were eager to prove to the outside world the humane nature of the slave regime--the profusion of essays, speeches, and sermons on the "Christian responsibilities" of slave owners inevitably influenced the general consciousness and behavior of Southern whites at large. What is more, similar themes are evident in the private correspondence of slave owners, including their instructions to overseers. As rice planter P.C. Weston informed his overseer, "his first object is to be, under all circumstances, the care and well being of the negroes. The Proprietor is always ready to excuse such errors as may proceed from want of judgment; but he never can or will excuse any cruelty, severity, or want of care towards the negroes."10

Although not all masters followed exhortations to take good care of their people, the actual material condition of antebellum slaves was in general superior to that of their colonial forebears [see 1138]. An abundant supply of food enabled masters to provided their slaves with a plentiful if not nutritionally balanced diet, and the periodic famines that afflicted the poor in much of the world were unknown in the South; as Frederick Douglass [1817? - 1895 (famous American black. born a slave)] grudgingly noted, "not to give a slave enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of meanness even among slaveholders."11 The peck (eight quarts) of cornmeal and two and a half to four pounds of pork or bacon per week that became the widely accepted standard ration for healthy adult field hands were supplemented by numerous items that varied according to season and region, many of which--including chickens, vegetables, fruit, opossum, fish and shellfish--slaves grew on their garden plots or hunted and gathered from the forests and waterways. Some masters dispensed small luxuries such as sugar, coffee, and even whiskey to their people, or allowed them to trade the products of their garden plots for such items.

The abundance of food that most slaves received helped sustain them in comparatively healthy condition....' [112-113].

"Antebellum Slavery Life"

"NOT ONLY DID THE SLAVES ADOPT THE GENERAL RELIGION OF THEIR MASTERS--CHRISTIANITY--BUT THEY ALSO ADHERED TO THE SAME SPECIFIC (USUALLY PROTESTANT) DENOMINATIONS. Antebellum Southern blacks were, like antebellum Southern whites, most often Baptists and Methodists, with much smaller numbers of Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Catholics, and members of other sects. There were differences between black and white Baptists and between black and white Methodists, but there were also differences between black Baptists and black Methodists, or for that matter between white Baptists and white Presbyterians. American Christianity constituted an amorphous and highly heterogeneous religion, within which slaves found it easy to develop their own variants while remaining part of the mainstream." [145].

Comment: Historically, the conquered (devastated) have adopted the Religion of the Conquerors (examples: Mexico; South America; North American black slaves).

Long after the necessity (coercion) has passed, the conquered still cling to that Religion, and, when possible, force it on others.

Commonly involved, are the (self preservation?) impulses, to be "on the winning side". [See: 1157, 1175, 1179].

PAGE 1142

'Whether slaves worshipped separately or with whites, historians have recently been so impressed by the force of slave religion that they have may well have exaggerated its universality and slighted some of its contradictory implications. Many slaves lacked access to regular religious services, either because they lived in remote areas or because they had owners who regarded their religious aspirations with distaste. Bennett H. Barrow's plantation diary (1836--46), for example, is filled with expressions of disgust at the religious enthusiasm of both whites and blacks; he frequently forbade his slaves to attend nearby religious meetings, and when sixteen slaves temporarily ran away from a neighboring plantation he blamed the flight on their owner's "having them preached to for 4 or 5 years past," an action that constituted the "greatest piece of foolishness any one [was] ever guilty of." Other slaves were simply uninterested in religion, and, in the words of slave autobiographer Henry Bibb, "resort[ed] to the woods in large numbers on [Sundays] to gamble, fight, get drunk, and break the Sabbath." Although Bibb expressed typical nineteenth-century outrage at such desecration of the Sabbath, many slaves eagerly looked forward to their day "off" as a time to work on their garden plots, spend time with their families, and simply relax.12' [146].

'Christianity had to compete for the slaves' time and attention not only with secular concerns but also with a host of pre-Christian beliefs and practices that persisted even among ardent Baptists and Methodists. Slaves commonly resorted to potions, concoctions, charms, and rituals to ward off evil, cure sickness, harm enemies, and produce amorous behavior. Dellie Lewis, interviewed in the 1930s for the Federal Writers' Project, described some of the magic tricks she had learned from her midwife grandmother, tricks that included both folk remedies such as prescribing cloves and whiskey to ease the pain of childbirth and magic rituals such as putting a fresh egg at the door of a sick person to prevent anyone from entering the room. "If you is anxious fo' yo' sweetheart to come back f'um a trip," she added, "put a pin in de groun' wid de point up an' den put a aig on de point. When all de insides runs outen de aig yo' sweetheart will return."13

Although educated whites derided such "superstition" and slave autobiographers seeking to appeal to "enlightened" nineteenth-century sensibilities wrote of it with extreme embarrassment, magic, conjuring, and folk medicine continued to exercise a powerful hold over most antebellum slaves--at the same time that those slaves also considered themselves practicing Christians. Indeed, it was not uncommon for slaves to develop practices that fused Christian and non-Christian elements, as in the method described by autobiographer Jacob Stroyer of watching how a Bible turned when hung by a string to determine whether an accused person was guilty of stealing. One reason slaves were so easily able to combine belief in Christianity with belief in conjurers, witches, and spirits is that many apparently saw little difference between the two; noting that his father was a root doctor who could cure the sick, George White explained that he, too, knew "all de roots" and could "cure most anything," but he added that "you have got to talk wid God an' ask him to help out."14' [146-147].

PAGE 1143

'Many Northern whites, without thinking much about it, subscribed to the prevailing stereotypical view that blacks had limited intellectual abilities and lacked the capacity for rational thought. Reports sent back by HUNDREDS OF NORTHERN MISSIONARY TEACHERS WHO FOLLOWED UNION ARMIES SOUTH [see #6, 179] told a different story. These teachers found blacks eager and able to learn--as quickly as whites, some noted with delight--and determined to make something of themselves. "The children...hurry to school as soon as their work is over," reported an American Missionary Association teacher from Norfolk, Virginia, in 1864. "The plowmen hurry from the field at night to get their hour of study. Old men and women strain their dim sight with the book two and a half feet distant from the eye, to catch the shape of the letter. I call this heaven-inspired interest."8 To a nation in the midst of a struggle for freedom, the image of an oppressed people grasping for learning was as inspiring as it was comforting. Surely they deserved a little help from their friends.' [208].

"The White South: Society, Economy, Ideology"

'Religious idioms ["arguments"; "theories"] pervaded the pro-slavery literature, in part because Protestant ministers played a leading role in the defense of slavery and in part because such language was well calculated to appeal to antebellum Southerners. Indeed historian Drew Gilpin Faust [1947 - ] suggested that "THE BIBLE SERVED AS THE CORE" OF THE "PROSLAVERY MAINSTREAM."16' [192].


[1] To Southerners steeped in the Bible and predisposed to look to precedent for guidance, the facts that the ancient Hebrews (God's chosen people) owned slaves and that Jesus, who was not hesitant to condemn behavior that he considered immoral, never criticized slavery or reproached anyone for owning slaves seemed to provide clear divine sanction for the peculiar institution.

[2] So, too, did the specific biblical precedent provided by Noah's curse of his son Ham, and through him his grandson Canaan, for Ham's indiscreet gaze upon his father as he lay drunk and naked in his tent ("Cursed be Canaan; a slave of slaves shall he be to his brothers" [Genesis 9:25]), a story that white Southerners frequently cited to indicate God's condemnation of the black (or Hamitic) peoples to eternal slavery.

[3] But probably the most widespread and effective religious argument was the simple suggestion that slavery was PART OF GOD'S PLAN to expose a hitherto heathen people to THE BLESSINGS OF CHRISTIANITY. ' [192].

PAGE 1144

from: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong Lies Across America, James W. Loewen, The New Press, 1999.

[this reference, thanks to the encouragement of Neil Nissenbaum ("Onslow Free Thought Society--Newsletter--"(].

"59. Who Burned Columbia?" ["capital of South Carolina"]

"It is not too much to say that the blacks in Georgia and the Carolinas made Sherman's march possible. Their help meant that Sherman's forces would not be traveling through hostile territory without supply lines. Rather, the soldiers were more like a huge guerilla force in friendly territory. When General Sherman [William Tecumseh Sherman 1820 - 1891] entered [1865] Columbia, Union prisoners of war who had escaped their Confederate jails met him joyfully. Free blacks in Columbia had secreted them in their homes for months, a remarkable feat because it required unanimous support of all who knew. But no historical marker tells that African Americans aided Sherman's march in any way. Instead, as the previous entry shows, the landscape teaches that African Americans sided with the South." [284].

PAGE 1145

[Photograph] 'Taken in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, April 2, 1863, this photo showed the result of a whipping "Gordon" had received the previous October. Gordon had escaped slavery ten days earlier and was receiving a physical; he later became a corporal in the Union Army. The doctor, J.W. Mercer, stated that many of the 400 runaway slaves he examined that season were "as badly lacerated as the specimen presented in the enclosed photograph." When [Union] soldiers saw the backs of slaves who had been whipped, some converted instantly to an anti-slavery position. Units then made a point of BURNING THE WHIPPING POST AND SHOOTING THE BLOODHOUNDS at each plantation they encountered. Union soldiers were much more likely to loot plantations than small farms, and if the newly freed African Americans told them their owner had been particularly cruel, they were likely to burn the "big house" as well. No marker hints at this abolitionist tinge to the damage Sherman's men caused.3' [284].

from: Slave Testimony, Two Centuries of Letters, Speeches, Interviews, and Autobiographies, Edited by John W. Blassingame, Louisiana State University Press, c1977.

"Madison Jefferson

Interviewed, 1841, England b. Virginia

Enslaved: Virginia

House servant, field hand, herder" [217].

'....This young man had obtained the honourable epithet of the "Niggerhunter," from his success in tracking the poor runaways, and was often requested to undertake the recapture by neighbouring planters, for which purpose he frequently employed

blood-hounds.' [222].

"Tom Wilson

Interviewed, 1858, England Age: forty-five

b. 1813

Enslaved: Mississippi, Louisiana

Cotton presser, fireman" [338].

'About a year and a half after I had been in New Orleans, I ran into the woods. I was followed by Burke and a pack of bloodhounds into the Baddenrush swamp. The dogs soon caught me. They tore my legs and body with their teeth. Here are the marks yet. (As he spoke he turned up his trouser's legging, and exposed formidable seams, extending up the calf and above the knee joint.) Burke (he continued) rode up to me with his gun, and shot me in the hip with 14 buck-shot, which can be seen and examined at any time. The dogs continued to pin me with their teeth.

"After that I knowed nothing about what they did to me for about a week. When I got a little strong, they burned my back with a red hot iron, and my legs with strong turpentine, to punish me for escaping. They put an iron collar round my neck, which I wore for eight months, besides two irons, one on each leg. After that I was watched very closely; but one night, about a week after Christmas, I ran away, and hid myself under the saw-dust, in a saw-mill pit, below New Orleans. I was followed by Burke, the overseer, and the dogs, but they did not find me. I crept out, and ran away, for more safety, to the Great Salt water Lake, behind Orleans, secreting myself under the bushes and vines. There are alligators in the lake, and, as I waded up to the knees in the water, the alligators followed me, grunting and bellowing, and trying to get me. I had several times to climb up trees to escape them; but I felt safer among the alligators than among the white men....' [339-340].

PAGE 1146

'Octave Johnson

Interviewed, 1863, Louisiana Age: twenty-three

b. 1840, Louisiana

Enslaved: Louisiana


Deposition of Octave Johnson, Corporal9

Co. C. 15th Regt. Corps d'Afrique

I was born in New Orleans, I am 23 years of age; I was raised by Arthur Thiboux of New Orleans, I am by trade a cooper. I was treated pretty well at home; in 1855 master sold my mother, and in 1861 he sold me to S. Contrell of St. James Parish for $2,400; here I worked by task at my trade. One morning the bell was rung for me to go to work so early that I could not see, and I lay still, because I was working by task, for this the overseer was going to have me whipped, and I ran away to the woods, where I remained for a year and a half, I had to steal my food, took turkeys, chickens and pigs; before I left our number had increased to thirty, of whom ten were women; we were four miles in the rear of the plantation house; sometimes we would rope beef cattle and drag them out to our hiding place; we obtained matches from our friends on the plantation; we slept on logs and burned cypress leaves to make a smoke and keep away mosquitoes; Eugene Jardean, master of hounds, hunted for us for three months; often those at work would betray those in the swamp, for fear of being implicated in their escape; we furnished meat to our fellow-servants in the field, who would return corn meal; one day twenty hounds came after me; I called the party to my assistance and we killed eight of the bloodhounds, then we all jumped into Bayou Fanfron; the dogs followed us and the alligators caught six of them, "the alligators preferred dogs flesh to personal flesh," we escaped and came to Camp Parapet, where I was first employed in the Commissary office, then as a servant to Col. Hanks; then I joined his regiment.'

[394-395] [End of entry].

"Isaac Throgmorton Age: fifty-four

b. 1809, Kentucky

Interviewed, 1863, Canada Enslaved: Kentucky, Louisiana

Barber" [432].

"There was a man in our neighborhood who belonged to a Mr. Briscoe. They treated him so bad that he ran away, & him and his wife was gone for six months, and lived out in the canebreaks. They hunted him with the hounds of Bullen, a great negro-hunter. The dogs pushed him so that he and two others ran out, and they ran them right across a bayou, right across our road, and they catched one right at the edge of the water, and hamstrung him and tore him all to pieces. The other two got across, but one of them was caught afterwards. They put the man that the dogs tore into St. Joseph jail, & sent for his master, who lived about 200 miles off, and when he came, he said he didn't want him, and wouldn't pay his jail fees. The dogs had used him up so that he was never good for anything." [433].

PAGE 1147

"Jack Frowers

Interviewed, 1864, South Carolina Age: forty-five(?)

b. South Carolina

Enslaved: South Carolina

Field hand" [449].

'....When the hounds fairly got on my trail, and I heard them, I was two miles off, and by crossing little swamps I put them out till an hour before sundown, when I came to a pond and could see the dogs not more than 300 yards behind me. I tumbled right in, and waded out till I could just touch my toes and keep my nose above water to breathe, and the dogs lost me entirely. When Holley and the other men came down to the pond they rode all around it, and I heard them say "He can't get away no how, for we can come in the morning, and the dogs will take up his scent and find him." After they had gone I got out and wrung out my clothes, and started by the road direct, and ran and walked all night, till I knew I was gone thirty-five miles from Aiken; and then at daydawn I got to a pond, and went out on a log that was sticking in the water, and broke down some rushes and bushes enough to lie down and cover me up, and there I slept all day, for I was dreadful tired, and most starved too. When night came, I was so weak from hunger that I could scarcely go along; but I felt better when I harked and couldn't hear no dogs.' [452].

[See: #3, 91 (Dogs of the Conquest)].

PAGE 1148

from: Religion and Slavery, Edited with an Introduction by Paul Finkelman, Garland, 1989.

"The Mormons and Slavery--

A Closer Look

Newell G. Bringhurst

The author is a member of the history department in Indiana University at Kokomo.

The year 1852 was a year of decision for Brigham Young [1801 - 1877] and his Mormon followers. After three years of uncertainty--in the wake of their long, arduous migration to the Great Basin--the Mormons had been granted a territorial government, thanks to the Compromise of 1850. In 1851, Young was appointed Utah's first territorial governor and Mormon residents elected their first territorial legislature. This body, convened initially in late 1851, dealt with a variety of issues, including the legality of slavery in Utah. The Compromise of 1850 allowed the residents of Utah to decide for themselves the status of slavery in the territory.1 IN EARLY 1852, GOVERNOR YOUNG [BRIGHAM YOUNG] ASKED THE LEGISLATURE TO GIVE LEGAL SANCTION TO SLAVERY THROUGHOUT THE TERRITORY. Young got what he wanted. On February 4, 1852, Utah became the only territory west of the Missouri River and north of the Missouri Compromise line of 36º30' to legalize slavery...." [329].

PAGE 1149

from: 100 Years of Freethought, David Tribe, Elek: London, 1967.

"Chapman Cohen" [1868 - 1954]

'....He was not easily intimidated. He had spent the first twenty of his sixty years on freethought platforms, in open-air work when passions were fierce and police often partial. As late as 1932 he had to defy police and local students at Durham in the Bradlaugh manner when anti-NSS demonstrations caused an unwarrantable attempt to ban all secularist meetings at the traditional site. Yet he lacked the size and intimidating presence of Bradlaugh and Foote. In fact he more than compensated with courage, determination and a disarming manner which at once cooled and shamed ardent hecklers and--a commonplace in those days--physical assaulters. Despite his apparent lack of robustness he had a much sturdier constitution than either of his predecessors, and until he was well past normal retiring age had hardly a day's sickness. He broke all records in the freethought--probably in any--movement: thirty-four years as executive president; some 2,700 articles in, fifty-four years as contributor to, and thirty-five as editor [1915 - 1951] of the one weekly paper [Freethinker 1881 - present]; lectures and debates and unsigned paragraphs too numerous for record. He was also virtually unique among freethought leaders in not having had a devoutly religious childhood.

He was born in 1868 in the Midlands. His father's family had been settled in England for over two hundred years, his mother's for at least three generations. As befitted a priestly Jewish family, there were certain religious ceremonies in the home but 'religion sat very lightly indeed' upon his parents. He went to an elementary school 'ruled by the cane', where because of his assumed religion he hadn't the difficulty in being withdrawn from RI [Religious Instruction?] he would have experienced had his parents been avowed atheists. In fact he could not recall any period at which he had any real belief in religion, and thought that the term 'Jewish' was therefore quite meaningless save in the sense of 'those who can trace their ancestry back to believers in Judaism'. In this sense in the Christian era, and particularly in recent times, Jews have made remarkable contributions to world thought: to mention but three, Marx, Einstein, Freud. Theologically,
What the Jewish religion gave Europe was precisely that by which Jews were made to suffer--religious intolerance and religious isolation. (Cohen's Almost an Autobiography)....' [161-162].

"In 1891 Herbert Spencer [1820 - 1903] wrote to Lewis Janes, of Brooklyn Ethical Association: 'In my earlier days I constantly made the foolish supposition that conclusive proofs would change beliefs. But experience has long since dissipated my faith in men's rationality....'" [45].

"There was a time when rationalists, unequipped with twentieth century psychological knowledge, thought that rational arguments would inevitably lead educated people to abandon irrational phantasies...." [64].

PAGE 1150

from: Christianity  Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen [see 1150], (Third Edition Revised and Enlarged), Issued for the Secular Society, Limited, by the Pioneer Press, 61 Farringdon Street, E.C.4 London, 1931. [a Classic!].

[(my copy) signed by the author: "Chapman Cohen"].

"....anyone who compares ancient slavery with MODERN NEGRO SLAVERY--a system that was actually INSTITUTED BY CHRISTIANS--will find it hard to point out in what direction the modern was an improvement on the ancient slavery, while it is easy to show that in some respects it was distinctly worse. And there is always the important distinction that, while ancient slavery represented a phase of social development, and tended to something better, modern, or Christian, slavery stood for a deliberate retrogression in social life." ["12"].

'....THERE WAS NO DISTINCTION OF COLOUR. The Roman or the Greek, might consider himself superior to others, but his superiority was based on considerations that were personal, national, or cultural. When Rome conquered a people, absorption in the empire almost automatically brought a share in the empire's dignities and privileges. Inter-marriage took place, and, as Lord Cromer [Evelyn Baring Cromer (Earl of Cromer) 1841 - 1917] says:--
The dominant Roman and the intellectual Greek thought themselves, without doubt very superior to the savage Gaul or Briton, and to the more civilized Egyptian or Asiatic, but in estimating his sense of superiority neither appears, so far as I can judge, to have taken much account of whether the skin of the subject or less intellectually advanced races were white, black, or brown.6 ["6Ancient and Modern Imperialism, p. 140."]

THE THEORY THAT THE CONTROL OF THE WORLD SHOULD REST WITH THE WHITE RACES IS A MODERN THEORY, and, as a consequence, colour has in modern times carried with it a badge of inferiority, or divinely ordained servitude. ROMAN RELIGION WAS POLYTHEISTIC, INCLUSIVE, AND TOLERANT. CHRISTIANITY WAS MONOTHEISTIC, EXCLUSIVE, AND INTOLERANT. And as the latter [Christianity] extended its sway over the world of politics it introduced the spirit of exclusiveness and intolerance into all departments of life. "SAVED" AND "LOST" IN THEOLOGY WERE THE EQUIVALENTS OF SUPERIOR AND INFERIOR IN SOCIOLOGY. And as the overwhelming bulk of the coloured people remained outside the Christian pale, the development of the colour bar was easy. Christianity gave just that religious sanction which slavery required for its ethical justification. Slavery applied to whites was revolting; slavery applied to blacks became part of the divinely appointed order.' [13-14].

"IT WAS THE CHRISTIAN WHO ELABORATED THE THEORY THAT BLACK SLAVERY WAS PERMISSIBLE because the whole of the dark-skinned people were suffering from the curse God pronounced on Ham, the son of Noah." [15].

'In a larger degree the slave in Rome, in addition to his employment in agriculture and in the household, engaged in all trades and trading. The whole field of

PAGE 1151

trade and industry was open to the slave, and Professor Dill [Sir Samuel Dill 1844 - 1924] comes close to the facts when he says that "THE SLAVE CLASS OF ANTIQUITY REALLY CORRESPONDED TO OUR FREE LABOURING CLASS."11 ["11Roman Society From Nero to Marcus Aurelius, p. 102."]' [18].

'It will not do, therefore, to identify Pagan with Christian slavery. Slavery as an institution existed in both cases, but, as Professor Cairnes says, "We look in vain in the records of antiquity for a traffic which in extent, in systematic character...can be regarded as the analogue of the modern slave trade." THE CHRISTIAN SLAVE TRADE REPRESENTS ONE OF THE MOST FRIGHTFUL AND SYSTEMATIC BRUTALITIES THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN.' [19].

"Christianity met the movement by turning freemen into slaves. Under Paganism, bodies only were enslaved; minds were left free. CHRISTIANITY ENSLAVED BOTH BODY AND MIND." [22].
[W.E.H. Lecky 1838 - 1903] '....Slavery was distinctly and formally recognised by Christianity, and NO RELIGION [CHRISTIANITY] EVER LABOURED MORE TO ENCOURAGE A SPIRIT OF DOCILITY AND PASSIVE OBEDIENCE.18 ["18History of European Morals, II., pp. 62-6."]

So, too, Renan in summing up the attitude of Christianity towards slavery, says:--

We have seen that the great school of jurisconsults arising from the Antonines, is entirely possessed by this idea, that slavery is an abuse which must be gently suppressed. CHRISTIANITY NEVER SAID SLAVERY IS AN ABUSE....The idea never came to the Christian doctors to protest against the established fact of slavery. The rights of men were not in any way a Christian affair. ST. PAUL COMPLETELY RECOGNISED THE LEGITIMACY OF A MASTER'S POSITION. NO WORD OCCURS IN ALL THE ANCIENT CHRISTIAN LITERATURE TO PREACH REVOLT TO THE SLAVE, nor to advise the master to manumission, nor even to agitate the problem of public law which has been produced among us concerning slavery....Never is the master Christian who has Christian slaves counselled to free them; it is not forbidden even to use corporal chastisement towards them. If the movement which dates from the Antonines had continued in the second half of the third century, and in the fourth century, the suppression of slavery would have come about as a legal measure, and by redemption money. The ruin of the liberal policy, and the misfortunes of the times, caused all the ground which had been gained to be lost.19' [23-25].


'In the seventeenth century thousands of Irish--men, women, and children--were seized by the order, or under the licence of the English Government, and sold as

PAGE 1152

slaves for use in the West Indies. In the Calendar of State Papers, under various dates, between 1653-6, the following entries occur: "For a licence to Sir John Clotworthy to transport to America 500 natural Irishmen." A slave dealer, named Sellick, is granted a licence to take 400 children from Ireland for New England and Virginia. Later "1,000 Irish girls and the like number of youths" are sold to the planters in Jamaica.

In Scotland the Parliament passed, in 1606, an Act binding all workmen engaged in coal mines and at salt works to perpetual service. For over a century and a half later whenever coal mines or salt works changed owners those employed were sold with the estates. They were emancipated in 1775 by an Act of the British Parliament, but with certain special conditions that made the Act almost a dead letter. It was not until 1799 that the colliers [coal miners] and salt-workers of Scotland became free men.36' [32-33].

'Had the Church been against slavery it would have branded it as a wrong, and have set the example of liberating its own slaves. It did neither. Its ["the Church"] conscience was only shocked when a Jewish or Heathen master owned Christian slaves. Nay, the Church not only held slaves itself, not only protected others who held slaves, but it thundered against all who should despoil its property by selling or liberating slaves belonging to the Church. The Council of Agatho, 506, considered it unfair to enfranchise the slaves of monasteries, seeing that the monks themselves laboured. The Council of Toledo, 597, stigmatised as robbers those who set free the slaves of the Church without giving an equivalent. The Council of Epaona, 517, prohibited abbots from emancipating the slaves of their monasteries. Slaves were bequeathed to the Church by will, or given as an act of piety, and never was the gift refused. The Church, too, held its slaves to the end. In France, in his day, Voltaire [1694 - 1778] estimated that the Church held between 50,000 and 60,000 slaves.38 ['38Art. "Slavery," Philosophical Dictionary.']


"A ship of 300 tons was allowed to carry 500 slaves, with a crew of 50. But these regulations seem to have been only nominal. Thus the work from which I am quoting gives the actual dimensions of a famous slave ship, the Brookes. The vessel was of 297 tons, and was allowed to carry 450 persons. As a matter of fact, she had carried 351 men, 127 women, 90 boys, and 41 girls--a total of 609. The length of the lower deck, on which the slaves were carried, was only 100 ft., and in this space the slaves were packed without regard for health or decency. It was customary to allow 6 ft. by 1 ft. 4 in. for a man, 6 ft. by 1 ft. 4 in. for a woman, 5 ft. by 1 ft. 2 in. for a boy, and 4 ft. 6 in. by 1 ft. for a girl. Had they been measured for coffins, not much less space could have been allowed; and coffins these ships often were. In fact, in some cases it was only possible for the slaves to lie down to sleep by arranging them alternately head to feet.

PAGE 1153

So close were they, one could not walk without treading on them; but they were only slaves. One kind-hearted sailor, when passing over them, would remove his shoes, so as not to hurt them. So close and foul was the stench arising from the negroes, they have been known to be put down the hold strong and healthy at night, and to have been dead in the morning. A trader stated that, after remaining ten minutes in the hold, his shirt was as wet as if it had been in a bucket of water."


'In the case of one Liverpool ship, the Thomas, carrying 630 slaves, 100 died on the voyage; but as the remaining 530 sold at Jamaica at £60 per head, the owners were, doubtless, well satisfied with the trip. In some cases, however, the mortality was much greater--running to fifty out of every hundred. All the slaves were not sold abroad; some were disposed of in Liverpool. Thus, an old paper, Liverpool Chronicle, advertises:--
A fine negro boy, to be sold by auction. He is 11 years of age; the auction will take place at the Merchant's Coffee House, Old Church Yard. By order of Mr. Thomas Yates, who hath imported him from Bonney.

The Liverpool Advertiser of 1765 also announces:--

To be sold by auction, at George's Coffee House, betwixt the hours of six and eight o'clock, a very fine negro girl, about 8 years of age; very healthy.

Also, under date of September 8, 1766:--

To be sold, at the Exchange Coffee House, Walter Street, at one o'clock precisely, eleven negroes, imported per the Angola.

In the colonial papers long lists of runaway slaves were advertised, most of them branded like so many cattle. The following will serve as specimens: "Robert, R.P. on each cheek, and Kingston, marked Yorke on each shoulder and breast." Another is branded with "a cattle mark." "An old woman with her two sons and two daughters, one of them big with child." One man is to be recognised by his having had "both ears cropt"; another by having had "his nose and ears cut off." Another advertisement runs, "Escaped on Sunday last with a chain and collar round his neck, a negro man, marked T.Y." Another, after carefully describing a runaway slave girl, concludes by saying, "Whoever will apprehend the said wench, alive or dead, will receive two moidores [moidore: "former gold coin of Portugal and Brazil"] reward from Joseph Charles Howard."' [52-53].

'Most of the old Liverpool families were more or less steeped in the slave trade, and their enterprise made Liverpool the greatest slave town in Europe. Some of its "brands" were famous, particularly that of "D.D." Many of the slaves were sold openly on the Custom House steps, and the announcements of the sale and the descriptions of the slaves differs in no respect from those of cattle. Indeed, they were so much cattle. They were branded exactly as cattle are branded. The slave was made to kneel down, and the red-hot branding iron was placed on the bare

flesh--usually on the buttock. No one, for a long time, seems to have seen anything

PAGE 1154

unusual or cruel in this. It was just part of a commercial transaction. The ship in which Hawkins [Sir John Hawkins [1532 - 1595 (see Webster's Bio. Dict.)] commenced the [slave] trade was named THE JESUS....' [53-54].

'I have referred to the slave-ship Thomas. Here is a copy of one of the bills of lading:--
Shipped by the grace of God in good order, and well conditioned by James Dodd, in and upon the good ship "Thomas," master under God for this present voyage, Captain Peter Roberts, and now at anchor at Calabar, and by God's grace bound for Jamaica, with 630 slaves, men and women, branded D.D., and numbered in the margin 31 D.D., and are to be delivered in good state, and well conditioned, at the port of Kingston (the dangers of the seas and mortality alone excepted) unto Messrs. Broughton & Smith. In witness whereof the master and purser of the ship "Thomas" hath affirmed to this bill of lading, and God send the good ship to her destined port in safety, Amen. October 31st, 1767.

THIS UNCTUOUS [HEINOUS, ETC.] PIETY WAS MADE TO COVER THE MOST VILLAINOUS TRAFFIC THAT THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN. African villages were burned, and the inhabitants--men, women, and children--marched to the coast, branded, pushed into the holds, and carried away to Kingston or elsewhere for sale. Parties of negroes were invited on board ships to trade, and were seized and made slaves. Slaves that fell sick were so much useless lumber, and were often thrown overboard out of hand. Some attempt to keep them in health was made by bringing them out of the hold in batches and compelling them to jump about the decks under the persuasive influence of a cat-o'-nine-tails. The deaths of a few slaves more or less, however, roused no comments so long as the dividends remained high.47....

[footnote] 47During the hearing of a case for insurance, the following facts were brought out. A slave-ship, with 442 slaves, was bound from Guinea to Jamaica. Sixty of the slaves died from overcrowding. The captain, being short of water, threw ninety-six more overboard. Afterwards, twenty-six more were drowned. Ten drowned themselves in despair. Yet the ship reached port before the water was exhausted.--Goldwin Smith, The United Kingdom: a Political History, ii., p. 247.'


'Lord Macaulay [Thomas Babington Macaulay 1800 - 1859], in a speech delivered before the House of Commons on February 26, 1845, said:--
The slave States of the Union are divided into two classes, the breeding States, where the human beasts of burden increase and multiply and become strong for labour, and the sugar and cotton States to which these beasts of burden are sent to be worked to death. Bad enough it is that civilized man should sail to an uncivilized quarter of the world where slavery exists, should there buy wretched barbarians, and should carry them away to labour in a distant land; bad enough! But that a civilized man, a baptised man, a man proud of being a citizen of a free State, a man frequenting a Christian Church,

PAGE 1155

should breed slaves for exportation, and, if the whole horrible truth must be told, should even beget slaves for exportation, should see children, sometimes his own children, gambolling from infancy, should watch their growth, should become familiar with their faces, and should sell them for four or five hundred dollars a head, and send them to lead in a remote country a life which is a lingering death, a life about which the best thing that can be said is that it is sure to be short; this does, I own, excite a horror exceeding even the horror excited by that slave trade which is the curse of the African coast. And mark; I am speaking of a trade as regular as the trade in pigs between Dublin and Liverpool, or as the trade in coals between the Tyne and the Thames.

Could any Christian say anything that is essentially worse than this of the slavery that existed in Pagan times, eighteen centuries earlier? IN SHEER BRUTALITY THE CHRISTIAN SLAVE SYSTEM OF AMERICA OUTDID ANYTHING KNOWN TO THE ANCIENT WORLD. "THE POLICY OF THE SLAVEHOLDER," says Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, "WAS TO KILL OFF THE NEGROES BY OVERWORK AND BUY MORE." THE MORTALITY may be inferred from some figures given by Dr. DuBois. It is calculated that 2,750,000 slaves were imported in the seventeenth century, and 7,000,000 in the eighteenth.53 Nevertheless, and notwithstanding their normally rapid birth-rate, in 1790 the number of slaves in America totalled no more than 697,897.54 Of this number, all but about 40,000 were in the Southern States. THE MEMBERS AND MINISTERS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHES IN THE SOUTH ARE SAID TO HAVE OWNED NO LESS THAN 660,000 SLAVES.' [63-64]. [See: 1134, 1138].

'We are not here concerned with the history of the slave from the political and economic side. That the latter is of importance is clear. Indeed, the divisions of American opinion into slavery and anti-slavery was largely determined by the latter factor. The Southern States were dependent upon a plentiful supply of cheap labour, and slavery provided this. On the other hand, the North was not under this need, and Abolitionist opinion made headway. In our country [England], it may be noted, that Abolitionist opinion was greatly strengthened and enlarged by the GROWING RECOGNITION THAT SLAVE LABOUR WAS REALLY LESS ECONOMICALLY PROFITABLE THAN FREE LABOUR. In this respect, Finlay's statement that NO CHRISTIAN STATE HAD EVER ABOLISHED SLAVERY WHILE IT WAS FOUND TO BE ECONOMICALLY PROFITABLE, may be taken as a general expression of the truth.

What we are concerned with is the attitude of the Christian Churches towards the institution of slavery. And the answer to that is well given in the words of William Lloyd Garrison [1805 - 1879]. His biographers say that he "found the religious press, without regard to denomination, filled with apologies for sin and sinners of the worst class."


It is a fact, alike indisputable and shameful, that the Christianity of the nineteenth century is preached and professed by those who hold their brethren

PAGE 1156

in bondage as brute beasts! And so entirely polluted has the Church become, that it has not moral power enough to excommunicate a member who is guilty of man-stealing. WHETHER IT BE UNITARIAN OR ORTHODOX, BAPTIST OR METHODIST, UNIVERSALIST OR EPISCOPAL, ROMAN CATHOLIC OR CHRISTIAN, IT IS FULL OF INNOCENT BLOOD....At the South, slaves and slaveholders, THE MASTERS AND THEIR VICTIMS, MAKE UP THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH [see 1142]. The Churches of the North partake of the guilt of oppression, inasmuch as they are in full communion with those of the South55' [64-66].

'Speaking generally, the only Christian body in America that consistently condemned slavery was the Quakers; but even these, while favourable to emancipation, kept aloof from the Abolitionists.56 It was left for Thomas Paine [1737 - 1809] to sound the first clear and effective note on the subject. His article on "Justice and Humanity," demanding emancipation, was published in March, 1775.57 The article attracted considerable attention, and thirty-five days later led to the establishment of an American Anti-Slavery Society. And it is only fitting that the campaign against slavery thus inaugurated should have been triumphantly closed by Abraham Lincoln [1809 - 1865], another Freethinker.58....

[footnote] 58Many attempts have been made to prove that Lincoln was a Christian, but the testimony of those who knew him runs in quite the opposite direction. Thus, W.H. Lamon, in his Life, points out that when, in 1846, during a contested election, he was accused of being an "Infidel," and was asked to deny the charge, Lincoln replied that he would "die first." Mr. Lamon says: "The community in which he lived was a community of Freethinkers...and it was no secret, nor has it been a secret since, that Mr. Lincoln agreed with the majority of his associates in denying to the Bible the authority of divine revelation" (p. 137). "He [Lincoln] had written a book--now lost--proving (a) that the Bible was not God's revelation, (b) Jesus was not the son of God" (p. 158). "Mr. Lincoln was never a member of any Church" (p. 486). "When he went to church, he went to mock, and came away to mimic" (p. 487). Pages 487-500 contain the testimonies of friends as to Lincoln's religious views, from which I take the following:--The Hon. J. T. Stuart: "I knew Mr. Lincoln when he first came here, and for years afterwards. He was an avowed and open infidel, sometimes bordered on Atheism. Lincoln went further against Christianity than any man I ever heard." Mr. Hernden--his law partner--says: "As to Mr. Lincoln's views, he was an infidel." And his wife said: "Mr. Lincoln had no hope and no faith, in the usual acceptance of these terms."' [66-67].

'Many Christians, of course, whose humanity got the better of their theology, and who ignored the opposition of the Churches, stood for emancipation, but, in the main, the Churches as a whole, and the overwhelming majority of Christians, saw nothing unchristian or radically wrong in slave-owning. Something of the nature of the institution has already been indicated. It has likewise been said that ALONE IN THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY CHRISTIANS AIMED AT AN ENSLAVEMENT OF THE MIND of the slave by making his education a penal offence. And the more material side of it is indicated by a law of Louisiana, passed in 1806, which stipulated that a slave shall have at least two-and-a-half hours' rest out of each twenty-four.59

PAGE 1157

In old Rome, as we have seen, encouragement was given to acts of manumission. In Christian America the reverse policy was followed. By the Statutes of North Carolina (1846-7) emancipation was only given to a slave on condition that he or she left the State within ninety days. By the Civil Code of Louisiana (1852) a liberated slave was to be sent out of the State. It was also stated in a Statute of Louisiana that--
free people of colour ought never to insult or strike white people, nor presume to conceive themselves equal to the whites; but, on the contrary, they ought to yield to them on every occasion, and never speak or answer them but with respect, under the penalty of imprisonment, according to the nature of the offence (cited by Westermarck, Moral Ideas, vol. i., p. 714).

In Mississippi a negro was legally punished with thirty-five lashes if he exercised the functions of a minister of the Gospel.

Mr. Weld [Reverend Theodore Dwight Weld], in his American Slavery as It Is [Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses] [Arno, 1968 (published anonymously, 1839)], describes the condition of the slaves as follows:--
They are overworked, underfed, wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep; they are often made to wear round their necks iron collars armed with prongs, to drag heavy chains and weights at their feet while working in the fields....They are frequently flogged with the terrible severity, have red pepper rubbed into their lacerated flesh, and hot brine, spirits of turpentine, etc., poured over the gashes to increase the torture....Their ears are often cut off, their eyes knocked out, their bones broken, their flesh branded with hot irons....We shall show, not merely that such deeds are committed, but that they are frequent; not done in corners, but before the sun...perpetrated by magistrates, by professors of religion, by preachers of the Gospels, by governors of States, by gentlemen of standing, and by delicate females moving in the highest circles of society.' [67-69].

'The following when placed in juxtaposition are interesting:--

"Run away, the 24 of last month...A MULATTO....Whoever takes up and secures said fellow so that his Master may have him again, shall have forty shillings reward and reasonable charges paid."

"Strayed or stolen on the 15th of April....A BLACK HORSE about 15 hands high....Whoever brings the said horse to the subscribers shall have ten shillings reward and reasonable charges paid."60

Perhaps one ought to take it as a sign of grace that the man was valued at four times that of the horse.

Advertisements such as the above were common, as were also announcements, such as the following, of articles to be sold:--

PAGE 1158

"A very likely negro man aged 26. Two hundred thousand feet of seasoned lumber. Fifty acclimatized slaves, consisting of men, women and children. A number of hogsheads and jowls. A likely woman and her two children. Ten and a half barrels of mackerel. A likely negro, thirty-three years old. One hundred barrels of mess pork. Several likely negroes. Mrs. Gore's new novel, The Birthright.61' [70].

'Legally the slave was not a person at all; he was a chattel [movable property]; and domestically the matter was well stated by a clergyman--the Rev. R. Breckenridge:--
In the eye of the law no coloured slave man is the husband of any wife in particular, nor any slave woman the wife of any husband in particular; no slave man is the father of any children in particular, and no slave child is the child of any parent in particular.62

But despite all the horror and degradation of Christian slavery, less than a hundred years ago, the Churches stood as its great bulwark, supplying a religious sanction and a moral justification. Thus, in 1836, the Charlestown Union Presbytery resolved--
that in the opinion of this Presbytery, the holding of slaves, so far from being a SIN in the sight of God, is nowhere condemned in his holy word; that it is in accordance with the example, or consistent with the precepts of patriarchs, apostles, and prophets, and that it is compatible with the most fraternal regard to the best good of those servants whom God [as usual, read We (or I) (or other pronouns)] may have committed to our charge.63' [71-72].

'Sir Samuel Romily [1757 - 1818] says:--

It is a very common practice with the great populous parishes in London to bind [details?] children in large numbers to the proprietors of cotton-mills in Lancashire and Yorkshire, at a distance of 200 miles. The children who are sent off by waggon loads at a time, are as much lost for ever to their parents as if they were shipped off for the West Indies. The parishes that bind them, by procuring a settlement for the children at the end of forty days, get rid of them for ever; and the poor children have not a human being in the world to whom they can look up for redress against the wrongs they may be exposed to from these wholesale dealers in them, whose object it is to get everything they can possibly wring from their excessive labour and fatigue.89A

The mills were hotbeds of what was called "putrid fever," but it is pleasing to record that, despite the fact of children working fifteen and sixteen hours a day under the most unhealthy conditions, in spite, too, of their being poorly fed and clothed, their religious education was not neglected. The CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE ["LOVE"!] of the British public would never have tolerated that. And, in one case, when the conduct of some mill-owners at Backbarrow was impugned, they promptly produced the following from two clergymen:--

PAGE 1159

We, the undersigned, do hereby certify, that we attend every Sabbath-day at the apprentice house of Ainsworth, Catterall & Company and accompany the children to Finsthwaite Chapel for the morning's service; that in the afternoon we teach them to read in the Bible, New Testament, or Spelling Book, according to their ability, and that every attention is paid to the strict observance of the Sabbath.

J. Slater.

William Fernix.90' [98-99].

'In the mines the conditions were, if possible, still worse. In 1842, there was presented to both Houses of Parliament a Report from the Children's Employment Commissioners. From a summary of this report, published in the Westminster Review for October, 1842, and extending over fifty pages, I take the following: Of the extent of child labour in mines, we are told:--
Children are taken at the earliest ages, if only to be used as living and waving candlesticks, or to keep rats from a dinner; and it is in pits of this worst character, too, in which most female children are employed. It would appear from the practical returns obtained by the Commissioner, that about one-third of the persons employed in coal mines are under eighteen years of age, and that much more than one-third of this proportion are under thirteen years of age.

In Shropshire we learn "there are very few under six or seven who are employed to draw weights with a girdle round the body; and those only when the roof of the pit is so low for short distances as to prevent horses of the smallest size from being employed." Of a Yorkshire pit, in describing the way the children draw the trucks of coal--from two to five cwt. [hundred weight (has varied: 100-120 pounds)], "they buckle round their naked person a broad leather strap, to which is attached in front a broad ring and about four feet of chain, terminating in a hook." No wonder the Commissioners speak of these human beasts of burden, chained, fettered, and harnessed, as "presenting an appearance indescribably disgusting and unnatural."' [99-100].

'In the West Riding there was no distinction of sex so far as underground labour was concerned. "The men work in a state of perfect nakedness, and are in this state assisted in their labours by females of all ages, from girls of six years old up to women of twenty-one, these females being quite naked down to the waist." Pages might be filled with similar descriptions of pits in England, Scotland and Wales. The whole forms a striking comment on Canon Brownlow's statement that "One of the most remarkable effects of Christianity was...the rehabilitation of manual labour in public estimation."81' [100].

'One ought to say a word or two on the employment of boys in sweeping chimneys--a practice unknown outside the British Isles--before leaving this aspect of the subject. Children of six or seven were employed at this task, although an Act was passed in 1817 ordering that no boy should be employed under eight years of age.

PAGE 1160

Most of these boys were either sold outright to the employers by callous parents, or apprenticed from the parish. They were set to climbing chimneys, and often straw was lit behind them to encourage quickness of movement. Some masters washed their boys once a week, others just left them alone. The boys were stunted in growth, blear-eyed from the soot, and "flapper-kneed" from climbing. Deaths from suffocation were common. Yet, when in 1803, a very mild Bill was brought before the House of Lords, regulating the trade, it was rejected by a House consisting of one Archbishop, five Bishops, three Dukes, five Earls, one Viscount, and ten Barons.

It only remains to add that during the existence of these complicated horrors, and the systematic ill-treatment and slaughter of children for pure gain, the country was bristling with renewed religious activities, imprisoning men and women for publishing and selling Paine's Age of Reason [1794-1795], and fighting France in defence of civilisation.' [100-101].

"So far, we have seen, side by side with the bringing to a head of that conspiracy to enslave the English working classes, referred to by Professor Thorold Rogers, a great development of religious activity. And the two things are really closely connected. Just as in the earlier centuries, and contemporaneously in America, Christianity was used as a means of keeping chattel-slaves docile and contented with their servitude; so, during the rise of the modern labour movement, it was used as an instrument to control the working classes and to prevent reforms. The governing classes were content with the employment of women and girls, almost nude, in mines; they viewed unmoved the horrors of child labour and all the evils of the factory system; little protest was raised against the criminal laws, which then punished over two hundred offences with death, but they were alive to the necessity of keeping the people religious. Parliament could vote huge sums of money for the building of churches, and at the same time reconcile itself to thousands of families living in cellars and lacking the bare decencies of life. THIS AFTER CENTURIES OF A RELIGION WHICH HAD ENJOYED GREATER WEALTH AND POWER FOR A LONGER PERIOD THAN HAS EVER FALLEN TO ANY OTHER CREED." [106-107].

'Before 1874 the Congo basin was a well-populated district, inhabited by a number of uncivilised tribes. These tribes were engaged more or less in tribal wars, which were largely a result of contact with the whites, since they were generated and perpetuated chiefly on account of slave raids. It was also at this period that there developed an intensified "scramble for Africa." England, France and Portugal already owned possessions there, and Germany and Italy became also desirous of acquiring possessions. So also did Belgium, which had been an independent kingdom under Leopold since 1831. Leopold's method was to form an International African Association--of course, with the usual professions of piety and disinterestedness. A lavish expenditure on the Press and in other directions gained for the Association the support of public opinion in Britain; and largely in order to check the supposed designs of France, Great Britain agreed to a West African Conference in 1884. The Conference opened its sittings "in the name of Almighty God," and the result of its deliberations was the handing over of certain territory to the control of the International African Association, under certain stipulated conditions. Needless to say, no representative of the natives was present at the Conference. The Conference gave what didn't belong to it to an Association that had no claim to what it received.

PAGE 1161

In August, 1885, King Leopold [II, King 1865 - 1909 (1835 - 1909)] notified the signatories that his Association would henceforth he known as the "Congo Free State," and that he himself was monarch of the domain.

The whole of the population of the area was thus handed over, and the cruelty and heartless exploitation of the people almost passes belief. A POPULATION OF ABOUT TWO MILLIONS WAS CONVERTED BY A STROKE OF THE PEN INTO A NATION OF SLAVES, under the control of officials whose BRUTALITIES beggar description. The Belgian Secretary of State wrote to the Governor-General that the officials "must neglect no means of exploiting the forests," and they did not. They were paid a bonus on the rubber and ivory collected, and at the point of the rifle and to the crack of the whip the natives were driven forth to collect what was required. Villages were raided, the natives seized, and released in order to collect the ivory and rubber. Nearly fourteen million pounds' worth of goods was forced from the natives in seven years. If the people refused or rebelled, or failed to bring in what was required, punishment--death or mutilation, or death and mutilation--followed. Some few travellers and missionaries sent home to England and America reports of the atrocities--reports that were discreetly shelved. The native troops employed proved their zeal in bringing back to their officers the severed hands of those who had been murdered--in one case 160 hands, in other cases fifty or eighty. This, said our own Counsul, was not the native custom; it was "the deliberate act of the soldiers of a European administration...obeying the positive orders of their superiors." The photographs published in Mark Twain's [Samuel Langhorne Clemens 1835 - 1910] book [King Leopold's Soliloquy, a Defense of his Congo Rule, Mark Twain, 1905] of the children so treated place the fact of the mutilations beyond doubt.' [121-122].

["Congo Free State"] "Whole districts were depopulated. Of eight villages with a population of over 3,000, only ten persons were left. Of another district the population dropped in fifteen years from 50,000 to 5,000. The Bolangi tribe, formerly numbering 40,000 sank to 8,000. King Leopold, it is calculated, netted a profit of between three and five millions sterling, and could call God to witness the purity of his motives and his desire to promote civilisation." [122].

'The silence of the missionary societies was...striking. Mr. Morel [E.D. Morel, Red Rubber] points out that, although plenty of information was available, the executives of the missionary societies took no action, and "with three exceptions," no missionary gave public expression to his experiences until October, 1903. The Roman Catholic missionaries were altogether silent until 1903--was not Leopold a devout Catholic? And when Mr. Morel visited the United States of America in 1904 to ventilate the Congo horror, he was bitterly opposed by Cardinal Gibbon, the leading Catholic ecclesiastic in the United States.' [123].

PAGE 1162

from: The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker, Harper & Row, 1983.


The de Paors wrote naively of the life of a slave in early Christian Ireland: "Even if he was a slave he had the advantage of living in a society which had accepted the teachings of Christianity."1 This wasn't much of an advantage, considering that in pagan society he would not have been a slave at all. The United States in the 19th century had also accepted the teachings of Christianity, but this was of little benefit to the slaves on southern plantations.

In effect, THE FEUDALISM UPHELD BY THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES WAS A SLAVE STATE. Serfs were at the mercy of their overlords, who held the power of life and death over them. Serfs could be bought and sold with the land. Though they [serfs] were taxed to support the church and the nobility, they were without legal rights. THE "TEACHINGS" OF CHRISTIANITY PAID NO ATTENTION TO THE PLIGHT OF THE SERFS, NOR DID THE CHURCH MAKE ANY EFFORT TO ALLEVIATE THEIR SUFFERINGS. [see Addition 15, 985-986 (Luther)]

Church fathers were even more concerned to keep women in a state of subjection throughout all social strata, so that each male even at the slave level had at least one slave of his own: a wife. St. Augustine [354 - 430] said wives should be slaves to their husbands, and husbands had the right to beat and abuse them. To a wife who had been beaten he would say, "It is the duty of servants to obey their masters....[Y]ou have made a contract of servitude."2 St. Thomas Aquinas [1225 - 1274] said a male slave was superior to a wife, because a male slave was not in subjection "according to the law of nature," but a wife was "subject to the man on account of the weakness of her nature, both of mind and body."3 In other words, Aquinas believed that might makes right; weakness must be dominated by strength. Of course this was not always the rule in all-male relationships, only in male-female ones.

The combination of slavery and sexism in Christian societies made the lot of female slaves particularly onerous. They were completely helpless in the hands of their masters, and could be raped, tortured, or murdered with impunity. Even in "enlightened" 19th-century America, female slaves were in a singularly unenviable position.

Dr. James Marion Sims, known as the American "father of gynecology," was famed as the inventor of a surgical technique for curing vesicovaginal fistula. He also performed hundreds of clitoridectomies and ovariotomies to cure "sex-related diseases" in women. What is usually not told about his career is the way he developed his techniques. Before the Civil War, he kept women slaves in a disused jailhouse and made them his guinea pigs, performing hundreds of experimental and exploratory operations on them until they died off one by one and were replaced by fresh victims.4 Sims's career and writings bear out what some psychologists have suspected, that early gynecological surgeons were fundamentally women-haters with a sadistic bent.

In patriarchal societies, said Marx [Karl Marx 1818 - 1883], "Woman's true qualities are warped to her disadvantage, and all the moral and delicate elements in her nature become the means for enslaving her and making her suffer."5' [100-101].

PAGE 1163

from: The Dark Side of Christian History, Helen Ellerbe, Morningstar, 1995. [extensive Notes and Bibliography].
"Chapter Six


the Human Spirit:

the Inquisition and Slavery

1250 - 1800"

'By far the cruelest aspect of the inquisitional system was the means by which confessions were wrought: the torture chamber. Torture remained a legal option for the Church from 1252 when it was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV until 1917 when the new Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect.35 Innocent IV authorized indefinite delays to secure confessions, giving inquisitors as much time as they wanted to torture the accused.36 Although the letter of law forbade repeating torture, inquisitors easily avoided this rule by simply "continuing" torture, calling any interval a suspension.37 In 1262 inquisitors and their assistants were granted the authority to quietly absolve each other from the crime of bloodshed.38 They simply explained that the tortured had died because the devil broke their necks.

Thus, with license granted by the Pope himself, inquisitors were free to explore the depths of horror and cruelty. Dressed as black-robed fiends with black cowls over their heads, inquisitors extracted confessions from nearly anyone. The Inquisition invented every conceivable devise to inflict pain by slowly dismembering and dislocating the body. Many of these devices were inscribed with the motto "Glory be only to God."39 The rack, the hoist and water tortures were the most common. Victims were rubbed with lard or grease and slowly roasted alive.40 Ovens built to kill [?] people, made infamous in twentieth century Nazi Germany, were first used by the Christian Inquisition in Eastern Europe.41 ....' [83].

'The tyranny inherent in the belief in singular supremacy accompanied explorers and missionaries throughout the world. When Columbus landed in America in 1492, he mistook it for India and called the native inhabitants "Indians." It was his avowed aim to "convert the heathen Indians to our Holy Faith"51 that warranted the enslaving and exporting of thousands of Native Americans. THAT SUCH TREATMENT RESULTED IN COMPLETE GENOCIDE DID NOT MATTER AS MUCH AS THAT THESE NATIVES HAD BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY OF EVERLASTING LIFE THROUGH THEIR EXPOSURE TO CHRISTIANITY.52 The same sort of thinking also gave Westerners license to rape women. In his own words, Columbus described how he himself "took [his] pleasure" with a native woman after whipping her "soundly" with a piece of rope.53' [87-88].

'In 1614 the Shogun of Japan, Iyeyazu, accused the missionaries of "wanting to change the government of the country and make themselves masters of the soil."59

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With no understanding of shared supremacy and authority, missionaries fought among themselves just as had early orthodox Christians who had "wanted to command one another" and lusted "for power over one another."60 In Japan and China, the Dominicans fought bitterly with the Jesuits. In the Near East, the Franciscans fought with the Capuchins. And in India, the Jesuits fought several wars against the Capuchins.61 A Seneca chief asked of a Moravian missionary in 1805, "If there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it?"62'


'Missionaries often took part in the unscrupulous exploitation of foreign lands. Many became missionaries to get rich quickly and then return to Europe to live off their gains. In Mexico, Dominicans, Augustinians and Jesuits were known to own "the largest flocks of sheep, the finest sugar ingenios [mills (plants)], the best kept estates..."63 The Church, particularly in South America, supported the enslavement of native inhabitants and the theft of native lands. A 1493 papal Bull justified declaring war on any natives in South America who refused to adhere to Christianity.64 As the jurist Encisco [Martín Fernández de Enciso 1470? - 1528?] claimed in 1509:
The king has every right to send his men to the Indies to demand their territory from these idolaters because he had received it from the pope. If the Indians refuse, he may quite legally fight them, kill them and enslave them, just as Joshua enslaved the inhabitants of the country of Canaan.63

Orthodox Christians defended slavery as part of the divinely ordained hierarchical order. Passages in the Bible support the institution of slavery:

Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.66 ["66. Leviticus 25:44-46"]

ST. PAUL INSTRUCTED SLAVES TO OBEY THEIR MASTERS.67 The early St. John Chrysostom [c. 347 - 407] wrote:

The slave should be resigned to his lot, in obeying his master he is obeying God...68

And in the City of God, St. Augustine [354 - 430] wrote:

...slavery is now penal in character and planned by that law which commands the preservation of the natural order and forbids disturbance.69' [90-91].

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'ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY ALSO SUPPORTED THE PRACTICE OF SLAVERY IN NORTH AMERICA. The eighteenth century Anglican Church made it clear that Christianity freed people from eternal damnation, not from the bonds of slavery. The Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson [1669 - 1748], wrote:
The Freedom which Christianity gives, is a Freedom from the Bondage of Sin and Satan, and from the Dominion of Men's Lusts and Passions and inordinate Desires; but as to their outward Condition, whatever that was before, whether bond or free, their being baptised, and becoming Christians, makes no manner of Change in it.71

Slaves should, however, be converted to Christianity, it was argued, because they would then become more docile and obedient.72

BOTH THE INQUISITION AND THOSE SUPPORTING THE PRACTICE OF SLAVERY RELIED UPON THE SAME RELIGIOUS JUSTIFICATION. In keeping with the orthodox Christian belief in a singular and fearful God who rules at the pinnacle of hierarchy, power resided solely with authority, not with the individual. Obedience and submission were valued far more than freedom and self-determination. The Inquisition played out the darkest consequences of such a belief system as it imprisoned and killed the bodies and spirits of countless people--and not simply for a brief moment of time. THE INQUISITION SPANNED CENTURIES and was still active in some places as late as 1834.73' [91-92] [End of Chapter Six].

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