Wednesday, July 15, 2020

I just uploaded the most interesting audiobook chapter

I just finished my recording for section 1, chapter 8 of The Wrong of Slavery, by Robert Dale Owen. I wanted to share this with you, because its very pertinent to the things that are happening today. In s.1 c.8 Owen wrote the chapter in corresponding segments. The primary segment of note is named "A king the pillar of the slave-trade." In particular, the footnotes are among the more interesting parts of the chapter. After laying out some details about Virginia's protests against the King's slave trade, Owen wrote this:
In the Report of the Lords of Council, so often already referred to, there is but one table bearing on the subject.(1) It exhibits the exportation of negroes from the West Indies (then the principal place of their deposit and sale) for five years, namely, from 1783 to 1787, both inclusive, — showing that, in these five years, out of twenty thousand seven hundred and seventy- three negroes exported to all parts, thirteen hundred and ninety-two went to the "States of America;" that is, only about one-fifteenth of the whole, — or two hundred and seventy-eight annually. Since so small a proportion out of the whole export was directed to the United States, it is evident that the demand for slaves at that time could not have been great. (1) Lords of Council Report, Part IV. Table No. 4.

Now isn't that interesting? Slave demand being low, is quite the contrary to "the narrative" that is constantly fed to us. I have little doubt that for those wanting to counter "the narrative", you might want to get your hands on this Lords of Council Report. Moreover, the fact that the West Indies is primarily where the British Empire brought most of its slaves is not really that big of a secret. It gets glossed over, but its out there. Owen continues:

The public opinion, as well as the legislation, of the colonies had uniformly been against it.(2) (2) The agency of the British Government in fastening slavery upon the Continental colonies is well known. Bancroft has placed it distinctly on record: — "The inhabitants of Virginia were controlled by the central authority on a subject of vital importance to themselves and their posterity. Their halls of legislation had resounded with eloquence directed against the terrible plague of negro slavery. Again and again they had passed laws restraining the importation of negroes from Africa; but their laws were disallowed. How to prevent them from protecting themselves against the increase of the overwhelming evil was debated by the King in Council, and on the 10th day of December, 1770, he issued an instruction, under his own hand, commanding the governor, 'under pain of the highest dis-pleasure, to assent to no law by which the importation of slaves should be, in any respect, prohibited or obstructed.' In April, 1772, this rigorous order was solemnly debated in the Assembly of Virginia. They were very anxious for an Act to restrain the introduction of people the number of whom already in the colony gave them just cause to apprehend the most dangerous consequences. * * * Virginia resolved to address the King himself, who in Council had cruelly compelled the toleration of the nefarious traffic. They pleaded with him for leave to protect themselves against the nefarious traffic."


Laws designed to restrict importations of slaves are scattered copiously along the records of colonial legislation. The first Continental Congress which took to itself powers of legislation gave a legal expression to the well-formed opinion of the country by resolving (April 6, 1776) that 'no slaves be imported into any of the thirteen United Colonies.'


Again and again it was pressed upon the attention of the Ministers. But the Government of that day was less liberal than the tribunals; and, while a question respecting a negro from Virginia led the courts of law to an axiom that as soon as any slave sets his foot on English ground he becomes free, the King of England stood in the path of humanity, and made himself the pillar of the slave-trade. Wherever in the colonies a disposition was shown for its restraint, his servants were peremptorily ordered to maintain it without abatement." — Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. vi. pp. 413, 414, 415.

The biggest challenge we face is knowing where to look for the answers. This helps resolve many of the parts of the challenge. You're going to want to read Dale's book. And I can't wait to deliver it to all of you in audiobook form, for added benefit and dissemination.