the cane-brakes, and the rice swamps, caused a high rate of mortality, retarded the increase of population, and created a constant demand for fresh victims; and these it was found more safe and profitable to import from Virginia
than from Africa
, the mortality of the inland or coastwise transportation being far less than that of the ocean passage.
Likewise the risks of a traffic sanctioned and protected by the State
and National Governments were trivial compared with those of a trade outlawed by the civilized world.
And yet the difference between the domestic and foreign slave trade was only one of degree,1
and in many respects the former equalled and even exceeded the latter in its dreadful features.
Coffles of slaves, chained together and driven under the lash, were constantly wending their way on foot, under the scorching sun, along the Southern
highways to the distant States of Tennessee
, and Alabama
, or were conveyed in steamers down the Ohio
and Mississippi rivers
, or in sailing vessels along the Atlantic
and Gulf coasts to New Orleans, the great slave mart of the South
The arrivals of these cargoes of living freight were reported in the newspapers as unblushingly as if they had been cattle, or bales of cotton, or other merchandise.2
Fully fifty thousand slaves a year, it was estimated,3
were sold and transported from one State to another, in this infernal traffic, whose victims, torn from their kindred and friends, and the homes in which they had been literally ‘bred’ and born (often having the blood of their masters in their veins), went forth with hearts full of despair to what they believed to be a certain, slow and torturous death.
Not infrequently they chose instant