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THE SLAVE TRADE--THE ADMINISTRATION. This infamous traffic still continues to the deep and damning disgrace of our country and government. The number of vessels supposed to be engaged in it sailing mostly from the ports of New York and Boston, but chiefly from the former, is rising of one hundred. They manage somehow to elude the vigilance of the United States officers--but probably, there is not much difficulty in doing this, as these functionaries are blind of one eye, and in nine cases out of ten, it is presumed of both eyes--that is, they won't see.

The ship Montuak, a clipper of 512 tuns, lately made a very successful voyage. Returning from a whaling trip in June of last year, she was taken and fitted out at New York, apparently as a whaler. The attention of the U. S. marshal, or some of his deputies was called to the singular and unusual style of her preparation for whaling, but they, sharp-eyed men, could see nothing unusual or suspicious, though others could, and she was permitted to depart. To keep up appearances, she was first headed for Fayal. From there, she sailed direct to the coast of Africa, and soon after took on board a cargo of "black birds." In ninety days from leaving New York, she landed thirteen hundred negroes on one of the windward islands to the north of Cuba. They were afterwards sold in the public market place of a certain city, at auction, at an average of $1000 per head.

If this statement voluntarily made and it is said without any inducement to deceive, can be depended upon, the profits of this last three months' cruise of the Montauk, after deducting all incidental expenses, will amount to the nice little sum of a million of dollars, probably something better than any whaling voyage ever made in this country. The facts in this case, are given upon the authority of the Greenport, L. I. Watchman.

Of the fitting out and departure of numerous slave vessels, from ports in the United States, there is no doubt. The number of them engaged in the horrible traffic, has largely increased during the past year, and unless more stringent measures for its prevention are used, than have been heretofore, it will continue to increase, until the number is about as large as our present commercial marine.

It is not that we have no laws against the traffic. We have laws and severe ones, but the slave trade notwithstanding, continues to go on and increase in spite of them. The difficulty is that the laws are not enforced, and there is no prospect that they will ever be during the existence of the present miserable national administration. The Buchanan as is well known, is one that favors the iniquity, and during the whole course of it, has done more to support and strengthen, than to suppress or weaken it.

The government officials know this very well, and it is not to be supposed, that knowing it, they will take any particular pains to examine into the character, or watch the motions of suspicious vessels in our different ports. Had proper vigilance been used, the Montauk would not have been suffered to depart upon her mission of inhumanity and crime, and her return with a cargo of thirteen hundred human beings, sold and consigned to perpetual slavery and suffering, prevented.

None are so blind as those that will not see. The only way to break the spell that has so blinded the eyes of these government officials that they cannot distinguish a slave vessel lying in our ports from a regular and honest trader, is to remove the man that has caused the blindness, and to put in his place one that has power and will be sure to remove it. Honest Abe, or Doctor Lincoln, is the man that will do it, and that too effectually.

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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As the legal and illegal importation of African slaves into Brazil and Cuba continued in the early 1860s, antislavery advocates pressed the Buchanan administration to end the participation of U.S.-based ships. They contrasted the U.S. government's passive stance on this to the British government which since the 1830s, had stationed a squadron of ships in Africa dedicated to stopping and seizing vessels carrying slaves. This vigorous effort has been estimated by one historian to have cut the importation of slaves into Brazil and Cuba (the only major places where it was still legal to import slaves from Africa) by 30 to 50 percent in the 1850s. But despite the risks, some U.S. shipowners continued to trade in slaves: the profits often outweighed the risks.


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"The Slave Trade - The Administration"

publisher   Greenfield Gazette and Courier
date   Oct 1, 1860
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   12.0"
width   2.5"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L02.114

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See Also...

"Sacrifice of Life"

"The Slave Trade"

"The African Slave Trade"

"Negro Slavery in Massachusetts"

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