A ten month old beaten to death on a slave ship. A fifteen year old girl with gonorrhoea, hung naked, and beaten to death on a slave ship. A negro boy and a dog fall overboard. The Captain goes back for the dog. Children in cages being made ready for sale into slavery by the Spanish in Cuba.
Visitations of violence on negro children, during slavery, was always particularly brutal. Brutality was intended to be lessons in obedience and fear. This was not so much for the child as it stood, but the adult they may grow up to be. Obedient adult slaves didn’t run away. Obedient slaves would in turn visit violence on slave children, as a way of instilling fear and obedience, before the slave master or overseer did.
African children bound for slavery in the colonies of the West Indies, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, and South America as well as the colonial states of America, were treated with a cruelty which almost defies the human imagination. The younger they were, the more expendable their lives were. For where one came from, others may be gotten.
Breeding, to produce more saleable negro stock, was effected through artificial means by overseers and slave masters. Fertile young slave girls were paired with male slaves or used by master, overseer or their guests. “Suckers” as negro babies were once called, sometimes gained their fruitful slave mother a shiny coin for her troubles.
From outright brutality, resulting in permanent disability or death; to the brutality of being sold off from their mothers; to the unknowing cruelty of being grouped in cages on breeding plantations; to sexual violence of pedophiles in the form of slave masters, overseers and older slaves, the negro child, for hundreds of years, has known nothing but utter torment.
Perhaps though, the first torment was a psychological one. Hundreds of thousands, indeed millions, would never know who their real parents were. Sold off as children, this act of psychological violence, would be many a slave child’s first introduction to the world.
1834 Nassau – AN OLD NEGRO WOMAN SAYS SHE HAD 20 CHILDREN AND MASSA SOLD THEM ALL
From the book ‘The Early Settlers of the Bahamas’ by A. Talbot Bethell published in 1937. Talbot notes the following conversation between Governor Colebrooke and a newly freed slave, when it was announced, in 1834 that slavery, was finally, over:
“Massa,” said an old woman to Governor Colebrooke, ” I have had 20 children. My Massa and Missus sole ’em all off. One of my gals was sole to buy young Missus a piano, and when ever I heard her play on it, I used to stop my ears; I thought I heard my child crying out dat it was bought with her blood.
Dey was all sole off.
I have not got one left to bury me but now me see freedom!
Ah! and my old heart is glad because I will go happily to my grave.”
1773 Queen-Anne’s County, Maryland- TWO NEGRO GIRLS 10 years and 6 years. One with a SCAR on her throat. One with her nose SUNK IN
FIFTY DOLLARS REWARD.
“On Sunday last were stolen or seduced from the subscriber, living in Queen-Anne’s County, opposite to Chestertown, in Kent County, in Maryland, two negro slaves, one named Rachel, about nine or ten years of age, of yellow complexion, well grown, has a scar on her throat under her jaw, and two remarkable broad for meteeth; the other named Sarah, about five or six years of age, thick lips, hollow eyes and the upper part of her nose much sunk.
These slaves were formally the property of Elizabeth Adair, of Kent county aforesaid, who intermarried with John Posey, and were purchased of the said John Posey, by Sara Flower, with whom the subscriber intermarried.
As it is suspected that they have been taken away, with a purpose of conveying them out of this province, all persons are cautioned against purchasing them, and whoever will make known to the subscriber, the person or persons who stole or seduced the said slaves from him, and the person in whose possession they are, so that they may be recovered, and the offender offenders punished according to law, shall receive the above over the reward, from
(The Maryland Gazette, Thursday 01 July 1773)
1832 – NEGRO BABY WHO WOULD NOT EAT ON THE SLAVE SHIP
“On board a slave-ship, a child of about 10 months old took sulk, and would not eat. The Captain took up the child and followed him with a cat, and with an oath said ‘I’ll make you eat or I’ll kill you.’
From this and other ill treatment, the Childs legs swelled, and the captain ordered some water to be made hot, for updating the swelling. Even in his tender mercies were cruel, for the cook putting his hand into the water said it was too hot.
‘Put his feet in,’ said the Captain, with an oath. The child was put into the water, and the nails and skin came off his feet. Oiled cloth’s with them put round them. The child was then tied to a heavy log, and two or three days afterwards, the Captain called it up again and said, ‘I will make you eat, or I will be the death of you.’
He immediately flogged the child again; and in a quarter of an hour it died. After the infant was dead, he would not suffer any of the people on deck to throw the baby overboard, but called his mother, the wretched mother, to perform this last sad office to her murdered child.
He beat her, regardless of the indignant murmurs out of her fettered countrymen, whom, in the barbarous plentitude of secure tyranny, he permitted to be spectators of this horrible scene, he beat her, till he made her take up the child and carry it to the side of the vessel, and then she dropped it into the sea, turning her head away the other way that she might not see it.”
(The Liberator, Saturday 28 January 1832)
1791 Fayetteville, North Carolina – 12 Year Old Negro Girl, The Slave of his Wife’s Father
“You cannot be sensible of the privilege you enjoy in the land of light and liberty, whilst I am spending my days amongst *****.
Perhaps history cannot exceed a transaction, which was canvassed here the other day. I shall inform you of the particulars as related by two witnesses at the Supreme Court held at this place (Fayetteville) the 25th instant.
A young man tried for the murder of a Negro girl about 12 years of age, which belonged to his wife’s father, and had run away from him; —-being caught and brought back, he first whipped her unmercifully; —-then he split open a cart tongue, put in one of her feet, knocked out the wedge and left her the most of the day, then he whipped her again, and put a chain about her neck, and pulled her to the ground, and then up, until tired of that exercise;—- still he invented new tortures; he took a hand vice screwed it to her tongue until the blood gushed out at each side of her mouth, —–then he threw her on the fire, and held her down with his foot for a considerable time, he confessed himself it was as long as he could draw three breaths, soon she expired!!
A jury of inquest was called, and brought in WILFUL MURDER: for she appeared to be burnt from her hips to her shoulders through into the hollow of her body.
—–On trial being found guilty by the jury, he received his sentence which was to the extent of the law allowed—- Imprisonment for one year, and to pay the value of the Negro. It being scarcely considered a crime to kill one of that race.
The prisoner then said he was able to bear the punishment, and hoped to have an opportunity to be revenged on the witnesses.”
(The Independent Gazetteer, Saturday, 16 April 1791)
1766 Baltimore, Maryland, – 14 Year old Negro Girl With Whip Scar Under Her Breast and Riveted Iron Collar Around Her Neck
RAN away from the subscriber living in Baltimore Town, on the 7th September last, a Negro Girl need a God, about 14 years of age, of a brownish complexion, remarkable long Fingers and Toes, has a scar under one of her breast, supposed to be hot by a whipping: Had on when she went away, Onasburg shift and petticoat very much patch’d, and may now be very ragged, an Iron Collar about her Neck, which it is probable she has got off, as it was very poorly Riveted. She is supposed to be habour’d in some Negro Quarter, as her Father and Mother Encourages her in Elopements, under a Pretence that she is ill used at Home.
Whoever takes up said Girl, and brings her to me, shall have, if taken 10 Miles from Home Twenty Shillings Reward, if 20 Miles Forty Shillings, and if further Three Pounds, paid by
(The Maryland Gazette (Annapolis, Maryland) Thursday, 04 December 1766)
1832 – St. Thomas CAPTAIN WENT BACK FOR THE DOG NOT THE NEGRO BOY
The following anecdote is taken from an interesting publication, called, ‘Pity the Negro.’
we had just got out of the harbour of Saint Thomas, on our passage to the island of Saint Croix, when the captain of the schooner in which we sailed, sent a little Negro boy to the top of the mast to fetch down the flag; in untying it, he lost his hold and fell into the sea.
He called out for help; but our barbarous captain would not let the boat put off to his assistance. However, a Spanish dog of the captains seeing the poor little negro in the water, jumped overboard, and laid hold of the boy’s arm.
The captain called the dog several times, but he would not come; when, feeling he might lose his dog, he ordered out the boat; but as soon as the poor boy came on board he beat him so shockingly for losing his flag.’
(The Liberator, Saturday 28 January 1832)
1792 – TAKEN FROM CALABAR (now NIGERIA) AFRICAN SLAVE GIRL RAPED, CONTRACTS GONORRHOEA ON SLAVE SHIP BEATEN TO DEATH BY CAPTAIN
CAPTAIN John Kimber PUT ON TRIAL AT THE OLD BAILEY, LONDON FOR MURDER AND FOUND NOT GUILTY BECAUSE ONE WITNESS HAD BEEN CHARGED WITH MUTINY WHILE ON ANOTHER SHIP SOME YEARS BEFORE… AND BECAUSE Slave Trader Captain John Kimber HAD A GUARDIAN ANGEL IN THE PERSON OF THE FUTURE KING OF ENGLAND William IV WHO WAS THEN HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE DUKE OF CLARENCE
African slave girls and women were raped by the seamen onboard. Females were made to dance naked on deck so that the seamen could make their pick. On this journey, a fourteen or fifteen year old (we can only take the testimony as word that she was not younger, say ten or eleven) had already been raped and had contracted gonorrhoea from the seamen. She was extremely ill and in significant pain from repeated brutality on the slave ship.
Captain John Kimber was arrested in April 1792 for the murder of one or more negro women on the slave ship RECOVERY during its journey from CALABAR in what is now Nigeria to the West Indies in the previous year 1791.
Chief witnesses were Mr. Thomas Dowling, surgeon and Stephen Devereux, a seaman. In 1792, anyone could call himself a surgeon, even hair barbers.
The trail lasted just 5 hours. In the audience was the HRH The Duke of Clarence who would later become William IV the King of England.
During the trial it was never disproven that Captain Kimber caused the deaths of two female slaves. The defence only managed to attack the credibility of the two witnesses.
1832 Havana, Cuba – One Hundred Child Slaves Waiting To Be Sold
Extract of a Letter from Captain———, dated Havana, ——.
Doing my stay at Havana, I walked out to what is called there the Barracoons, that is, a range of very long buildings, with a yard attached to each building, where the cargoes of the slave ships are deposited for sale.
I went into one where there were about one hundred children, none of them were more than 12 or less than 7 years of age, all ranged along exposed for sale, decorated with beads and other trinkets to amuse the infant mind. The little things were all singing a kind of chorus, and appeared to be much more cheerful than I could have expected.
I assure you it was with difficulty I suppressed a tear, nor can I hardly refrain from it while I am writing.
Perhaps many families, as happily situated as our own, have been torn from each other, not to satisfy (for there is no such thing as satisfying) but rather to whet the very avarice spirit of those engaged in this most iniquitous of all traffic.
I rejoice that this foul blot is gradually washing away in our own country.
It is no wonder those islands are visited with hurricanes, yellow fever, and every other evil that afflicts the human race.