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[402] their real and their imagined wealth,—rose up to daz-
Chap. XXIV.}
zle the minds of the restless. While the opportunity of conquest and rapine was anxiously waited for, Jamaica became the centre of an extensive smuggling trade; and slave ships, deriving their passport from the assiento treaty, were the ready instruments of contraband cupidity.

The great activity of the English slave trade does not acquire its chief interest for American history by the transient conflict to which it led. While the South Sea company satisfied but imperfectly its passion for wealth, by a monopoly of the supply of negroes for the Spanish islands and main, the African company and independent traders were still more busy in sending negroes to the colonies of England. To this eagerness, encouraged by English legislation, fostered by royal favor, and enforced for a century by every successive ministry of England, it is due, that one sixth part of the population of the United States—a moiety of those who dwell in the five states nearest the Gulf of Mexico—are descendants of Africans.

The colored men who were imported into our colonies, sometimes by way of the West Indies, and some times, especially for the south, directly from the Old World, were sought all along the African coast, for thirty degrees together, from Cape Blanco to Loango

B. Edwards, II. 58.
St. Pauls; from the Great Desert of Sahara to the kingdom of Angola, or perhaps even to the borders of the land of the Caffres. It is not possible to relate precisely in what bay they were respectively laden, from what sunny cottages they were kidnapped, from what more direful captivity they were rescued. The traders in men have not been careful to record the lineage of their victims. They were chiefly gathered from gangs

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