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AN ISSUE ON SLAVERY ~

After the following introduction, you will find two news articles that relate to this subject

REVEREND PETER FONTAINE'S DEFENSE OF SLAVERY IN VIRGINIA

Before our troubles, you could not hire a servant or slave for love or money, so that, unless robust enough to cut wood, to go to mill, to work at the hoe, etc., you must starve or board in some family where they both fleece and half starve you. There is no set price upon corn, wheat, and provisions; so they take advantage of the necessities of strangers, who are thus obliged to purchase some slaves and land. This, of course, draws us all into the original sin and curse of the country of purchasing slaves, and this is the reason we have no merchants, traders, or artificers of any sort but what become planters in a short time.

Despair...... the look of a young black boy
 
 

A common laborer, white or black, if you can be so much favored as to hire one, is 1s . sterling or 15d. currency per day; a bungling carpenter, 2s. or 2s. 6d.. per day; besides diet and lodging. That is, for a lazy fellow to get wood and water, £19 16s. 3d. current per annum; add to this £7 or £8 more and you have a slave for life.
 

However.... the Blackman was not the only man of color who was enslaved........... the Redman was also targeted

By the late years of the seventeenth century, caravans of Indian slaves were making their way from the Carolina backcountry to forts on the coast just as caravans of African slaves were doing on the African continent. Once in Charleston, the captives were loaded on ships for the "middle passage" to the West Indies or other colonies such as New Amsterdam or New England. Many of the Indian slaves were kept at home and worked on the plantations of South Carolina; by 1708, the number of Indian slaves in the Carolinas was nearly half that of African slaves.  The slave traders of the Carolinas engaged in successful slaving among the Westo, the Tuscarora, the Yamasee, and ultimately the Cherokee.

March 1661/2-ACT CXXXVIII. Concerning Indians.

[The legislators decided that Native American and English servants were to serve their masters the same length of time.]

And be it further enacted that what Englishman, trader, or other shall bring in any Indians as servants and shall assigne them over to any other, shall not sell them for slaves nor for any longer time than English of the like ages should serve by act of assembly.

Source: Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 2, p. 143.

October 1670-ACT IV. Noe Negroes nor Indians to buy christian servants.

[The number of blacks and Native Americans in Tidewater Virginia was small when this act was passed. The legislators knew that access to labor was necessary to succeed.]

WHEREAS it hath beene questioned whither Indians or negroes manumited, or otherwise free, could be capable of purchasing christian servants, It is enacted that noe negroe or Indian though baptised and enjoyned their owne ffreedome shall be capable of any such purchase of christians, but yet not debarred from buying any of their owne nation.

Source: Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 2, pp. 280-281.

November 1682-ACT II. An act declaring Indian women servants tithables.

WHEREAS it hath bin doubted whether Indian women servants sold to the English above the age of sixteene yeares be tythable, Bee it enacted and declared, and it is hereby enacted and declared by the governour, councill and burgesses of this generall assembly and the authority thereof, that all Indian women are and shall be tythables, and ought to pay levies in like manner as negroe women brought into this country doe, and ought to pay.

Source: Hening, ed., The Statutes at Large, vol. 2, p. 492.

And finally....... we must consider the "white" indentured "slave"

White indentured servants came from all over Great Britain. Men, women, and sometimes children signed a contract with a master to serve a term of 4 to 7 years. In exchange for their service, the indentured servants received their passage paid from England, as well as food, clothing, and shelter once they arrived in the colonies. Some were even paid a salary. When the contract had expired, the servant was paid freedom dues of corn, tools, and clothing, and was allowed to leave the plantation. During the time of his indenture, however, the servant was considered his masterís personal property and his contract could be inherited or sold. Prices paid for indentured servants varied depending on skills.

Indentured servants had few rights. They could not vote. Without the permission of their masters, they were not allowed to marry, to leave their houses or travel, nor buy or sell anything. Female indentured servants were often raped without legal recourse. Masters often whipped and beat their indentured servants.

Although many masters craftily figure out ways to extend an indentured servant's bondage (through accusing the servant of stealing, impregnating a female indenture servant, etc.), most indentured servants who survived the frrst four to seven years in America were freed. The master was required (depending upon the rules of the colony) to provide his former servant with the following: clothing, two hoes, three barrels of corn, and fifty acres of land.
 

The below has been submitted by Cousin Dorothy

These are articles reflecting the thoughts on "slavery" in West Virginia in 1856

Upshur County In The Civil War

(Article copied from The Herald, published in Weston Virginia by H.J. Tap and B. P. Swayne)

Written December 1, 1856

INFAMOUS

We give below the names, not of the sacred nine, but of the infamously immortal nine who at the late election in French Creek in Upshur County cast theur votes for the Freemont Electors. Such flagrant ant-slavery action here in Virginia was unexpected to us. That there should be residents amongst us who have imbibed the abolition sentiment elsewhere, and still retain them in acquiescent silence is no matter of surprise.

"For Fath, fanatic faith, once wedded fast to some black falsehood hugs it to the last"  But  that they should come out thus boldly and avow their adherence to principles and men so odius to public sentiment, and so inimical to our interests, is a matter of astonishment and exhibits a fanatic recklessness, a total disregard for our institutions, and a social and political depravity wwhich must arouse the indignation of the people and visit them with the burning rebuke of public contempt.

Inflate with vanity which  ever flows from ignorance and with hearts pulsating in unison with those in the north professing a melting sympathy for the African in the south, whose condition is frequently, if not generally better than their own, they publicly exhibit their odius sentiments, and disgrace the county and state by the record of such votes as must elicit the praise of such scoundrels as Greely, Smith, Sumner, and their beloved brother, Fred Douglas.

The fact of their not being citizens of our state by birth is no pallation. They have seen fit to take up their residence in Virginia, a state whose loyalty to the constitution stands pre-eminent in the history of our country, and of which they should be proud, and they are bound by common ccourtesy and by the duty which involves upon strangers in any community to sacrifice such of their prejudices as may be repugnant to those whose home they have voluntarily sought; and more particularly here
in Virginia to sacrifice those fanatic opinions which are at variance with our laws and opposed  to the institutions of a portion of our country, existing as they do under the sanction of the constitution.

We regret, deeply regret, that there should be in our midst those who sympathize with a sectional party in the north, whose greatest ambition is to encroach upon our institutions and who,  in the madness of their fanatic hate, stealthily seek to jeopardize a property gauranteed to us as sacredly by the contsitution as is the right to them and to us of worshiping God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Adopting this in their home, they are bound by everything that is honorable aamong men, socially, morally, and politically, to acquiece in our laws, and to do no violence to them by conservation, oor excercising their right of suffrage in favor of a party composed of all the antagonistic elements of the south and whose energies have  ever been directed against  our interest, is little short of treason to the state, and merits and must receive the condemnation
of all good citizens.

Educated in the fanatic schools of Yankeeism, imbued with the prejudices which are the disgusting characteristics of those agitators who disclaim all allegiences to the constitution  and aspire to illegal power through a triumph over the south, they have the  impudence--the brazen-faced affontery here in Virginia, to speak their odius and seditious sentiments through the ballot box, and attempt to infuse their abolition poison into the minds of our people.

Should such incendiary manifestations be tolerated in our midst? Can our interests thus  openly be attacked By those emissaries of northern fanatics who reflect the worst features  of abolitionism, and who have no sympathy with our institutions? These are  questions  which we as one, were it not for our belief that their present insignifigance number, and that their influence will be confined by the intelligence of our people to its present contemptable limit, would have no hesitancy in answering the negative. But still:

"Their names--their human names--to every eye.
The climax of all scorn should hang on high,
Exalted above their less abhorred compeers,
And festering in the infamy of years."

The names:

Dr. Amos BROOKS, Alva BROOKS, John PHILLIPS, Jason LOOMIS, Franklin PHILLIPS, Gilbert YOUNG, Adolphus BROOKS, William LOOMIS, David PHILLIPS, and J.T. BROOKS.
 

The response... from one of the irate named "Infamous"

A Reply To The Editorial

Written By Amos Brooks

Messrs Editors:

A few weeks ago I  was shown an editorial in your dirty sheet with the word "INFAMOUS" for a caption. You profess to give the names of nine and then gave ten. In the first place let me say to you that I  do not nor cannot object to having my name published thus, and am so far satisfied.  But  your remarks there on deserve a passing notice. I regret that I am not at liberty to answer you in a courteous laanguage, and reason the case with you.

You have taken a position outside of civilization, and to do so mught be casting "pearls before a swine."

Let me tell you that had you read the Republican platform you might have seen that it was only advocating "Free Soil" for the Territories. I suppose you had  not seen it and may be properly called a "Political Blockhead". If had read it and know what it contained, perhaps you might with propriety be called a "Political Knave" After letting off a shower of gas, which shows your depravity, ignorance, and want of truth and accuracy, you threaten us with Judge Lynch!  This shows your ignorance of the nature of things. Just as though Judge Lynch could hold jurisdiction in such a place as "French Creek"! You might possibly steal a march on some of  us as Cain did Abel, or Bully Brooks did Sumner.

It seems the south is influenced by "Higher Law" with a vengeance. It appears that if any one independently uses his constitutional and legal perogatives,  he may be in danger of being lynched!  he offends against "Higher Law". Yes Higher Law of the south is far above civilization, constitution and civil law.  It is savage depotism!

Witness   the cases of of Strickland & Co., New Orleans, and Prof. Haddrock and numerous other cases.  The thousands of Republicans were in danger of being lynched if they attempted to form Rebublican tickets of    election in all the southern states. Is not this  "Higher Law"?

You speak of "interests of the south" of  the institutions of the south in the plural number.I know that the one institution of slavery exists in the south, but what is the other or others? Now, Sirs, yiu ought to know that the greatest majority of Republicans do not  wish or propose to interfere with slavery in the states; therefore slavery is not in danger. But I ask you again, what other institution is in danger?

Is the pleasure of producing and raising yellow boys and girls for the southern market in danger? Is it not a fact that sexual intercourse prevails in a considerable extent in Virginia? Note the high prices of the half-bloods, the three-quarter-bloods  etc. Will Freesoilism curtaail the product? Did not Richmond Enqquirer, in an editorial a few years since, say that if allthe slaves in Virginia would be freed? Well Virginia must be a dignified and notable state, if a large share of her income arises from the sale of the base admixture. The ppress of Virginia must surely be the palladium of Liberty if she advocates such liberty

Are you too thick-skulled to know that if the freedom of speech, and of the press,  and of the Ballot Box is taken from the people, then there can be no republicism?  But it seems you are striving to have it so. Are you then not a traitor?  If so, do you  not deserve the fate of traitors? If Arnold deserved to be shot, do you not deserve to  be hung? If Arnold deserved the leather, do you not deserve the gibbet?
                                                       _________________________
I wish you to publish the above as a reply to the article in the Herald of December  1. But if you decline doing so, please keep it carefully and read it attennntively two or three times per week. Please read it to the officers of the bank .

Let me make you one offer, to wit: if you will come and sit at my feet, I will endeaor  to teach you the first principles of  civilization and Republicanism on condition of being well paid.

Amos Brooks

The sentiment of the "immortal nine" as expressed in the voting at French Creek in the general election of 1856 was seed sown in a fertile soil. The scandulous and unwarranted attack upon these gentlemen  in the exercise of their sovereign rights brought out their virtues and the virtues of the cause which they represented.  Agitation became strife. Debates were frequent. Discussion was continuous. So that in the election 1860 the feelings and opinions of the citizens of Upshur County were pre-eminitely favorale to the principles and platform of the Republican party. To the partisan in a greater degree than to the staesman and publicist , this new party was the wooden horse that would enter the gates of the south and  destroy the bullwarks of slavery. In it and through it, their highhhest hopes for unity of the nation and the perpetuity of our country would be attained.  While the local vote for Abraham Lincoln, for Stephen A. Douglas, for John C. Breckenridge, for Tom Bell of Tennessee would give no sign as to the  results of the presidential
content, yet the   results were duly anticipated, and the great commoner for whom the poet of that day sings:

The undeclared forest, the unbroken soil,
The iron bark, that turns the lumberer's axe,
The rapid tha o'erbearers the boatman's toil,
The prairie, hiding the mazed wanderer's tracks.

The Ambushed, and the prowling bear,
Such were the needs that helped his youth to train
Rough culture!--but such tress large fruit may bear,
If  but their stocks be of right girth and grain!

Source:

Heritage Books Archives
West Virginia Volume One
Upshur County

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