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[173] African slaves, was the first to set the example of
Chap V.}
African liberty. But for the slave-trade, the African race would have had no inheritance in the New World.

The odious distinction of having first interested

England in the slave-trade, belongs to Sir John Hawkins. He had fraudulently transported a large cargo of Africans to Hispaniola; the rich returns of sugar, ginger, and pearls, attracted the notice of Queen Elizabeth; and when a new expedition was prepared,
she was induced, not only to protect, but to share the traffic.1 In the accounts which Hawkins himself give2 of one of his expeditions, he relates., that he set fire to a city, of which the huts were covered with dry palm leaves, and, out of eight thousand inhabitants, succeeded in seizing two hundred and fifty. The deliberate and even self-approving frankness with which this act of atrocity is related, and the lustre which the fame of Hawkins acquired, display in the strongest terms the depravity of public sentiment in the age of Elizabeth. The leader in these expeditions was not merely a man of courage; in all other emergencies, he knew how to pity the unfortunate, even when they were not his countrymen, and to relieve their wants with cheerful liberality.3 Yet the commerce, on the part of the English, in the Spanish ports, was by the laws of Spain illicit, as well as by the laws of morals detestable; and when the sovereign of England participated in its hazards, its profits and its crimes, she became at once a smuggler and a slave merchant.4

A ship of one Thomas Keyser and one James Smith,


1 Compare Hakluyt, II. 351, 352, with III. 594. Hewat's Carolina, i. 20—26 Keith's Virginia, 31. Anderson's History of Commerce.

2 Hakluyt, III. 618, 619.

3 Ibid. III. 418, 419, 612—14.

4 Lingard, VIII. 306, 307.

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