that were marched from the far interior; so that the
freight of a single ship might be composed of personsof different languages, and of nations altogether strange to each other.
Nor was there uniformity of complexion: of those brought to our country, some were from tribes of which the skin was of a tawny yellow.
The purchases in Africa
were made, in part, of convicts punished with slavery, or mulcted in a fine, which was discharged by their sale; of debtors sold, though but rarely into foreign bondage; of children sold by their parents; of kidnapped villagers; of captives taken in war. Hence the sea-coast and the confines of hostile nations were laid waste.
But the chief source of supply was from swarms of those born in a state of slavery; for the despotisms, the supersti-
tions, and the usages of Africa
had multiplied bondage.
In the upper country, on the Senegal and the Gambia, three fourths of the inhabitants were not free; and the slave's master was the absolute lord of the slave's children.
The trade in slaves, whether for the caravans of the Moors or for the European
ships, was chiefly supplied from the natural increase.
In the healthy and fertile uplands of Western Africa
, under the tropical sun, the reproductive power of the prolific race, combined with the imperfect development of its moral faculties, gave to human life, in the eye of man himself, an inferior value.
Humanity did not respect itself in any of its forms,—in the individual, in the family, or in the nation.
Our systems of morals will not explain the phenomenon: its cause is not to be sought in the suppression of moral feeling, but rather in the condition of a branch of the human family not yet conscious of its powers, not yet fully possessed of its moral and rational