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[163]

In a department of the Genius which he styled the ‘Black List,’ and which bore at its head the figure of a chained and kneeling negro,1 with the motto, ‘Am I not a Man and a Brother?’ Mr. Garrison recorded each week some of the terrible incidents of slavery,—instances of cruelty and torture, cases of kidnapping, advertisements of slave auctions, and descriptions of the horrors of the foreign and domestic slave trade. By common consent of the principal maritime nations, the foreign slave trade was now adjudged felony, and their navies united in efforts for its suppression. When the additional term of twenty years allowed it by the iniquitous compromise clause in the United States Constitution had expired, the bill forbidding its continuance, which Congress promptly passed, received general support, even the Southern members voting for it, after securing certain modifications.2 The traffic went on, nevertheless, and it was estimated that as many as twelve or fifteen thousand kidnapped Africans were annually smuggled into this country in defiance of law.3 The willing consent of some of the Southern States to the legal prohibition of the foreign slave trade was notoriously owing less to conscientious scruples against the traffic, than to the fact that they saw an opportunity of making greater gains through a domestic slave trade, based on the deliberate and systematic breeding of slaves in Virginia and the Northern tier of slave States, for the Southern market. The deadly influences of the climate in the Gulf States, the terrible hardships of plantation labor in the cotton fields,

1 This figure, originally designed for the seal of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, in October, 1787, had a powerful influence in kindling anti-slavery sentiment in Great Britain, and was, with its direct and pathetic appeal, no less an inspiration and incentive to the American abolitionists. (See Clarkson's “History of the slave trade,” Chapter XX:)

2 Wilson's Rise and Fall of the Slave Power, 1.102, 103.

3 How thoroughly the prohibition was disregarded can be judged from the fact, that although the law required the forfeiture to the Government of all slaves illegally imported after 1807, the Register of the Treasury was obliged to confess, in 1819, that of more than a hundred thousand thus introduced up to that time, not one had been forfeited. Frequent record of the capture of slavers by English vessels was made in the Genius.

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