slaves, was the first to set the example of African
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
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