negroes for sale.1
This is, indeed, the sad epoch of
the introduction of negro slavery in the English
colonies; but the traffic would have been checked in its infancy, had its profits remained with the Dutch
Thirty years after this first importation of Africans, the increase had been so inconsiderable, that to one black, Virginia
contained fifty whites;2
and, at a later period, after seventy years of its colonial existence, the number of its negro slaves was proportionably much less than in several of the free states at the time of the war of independence.
It is the duty of faithful history to trace events, not only to their causes, but to their authors; and we shall hereafter inquire what influence was ultimately extended to counteract the voice of justice, the cry of humanity, and the remonstrances of colonial legislation.
Had no other form of servitude been known in Virginia
, than such as had been tolerated in Europe
, every difficulty would have been promptly obviated by the benevolent spirit of colonial legislation.
But a new problem in the history of man, was now to be solved.
For the first time, the Aethiopian and Caucasian races were to meet together in nearly equal numbers beneath a temperate zone.
Who could foretell the issue?
The negro race, from the first, was regarded with disgust, and its union with the whites forbidden under ignominious penalties.3
For many years, the Dutch
were principally concerned in the slave-trade in the market of Virginia
; the immediate demand for laborers may, in part, have blinded the eyes of the planters to the ultimate evils of slavery,4