Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant – A Comprehensive Review by Gene Kizer, Jr., Part Eight, Chapter Five: Newport Rum, African Slaves, Part One

A Comprehensive Review of
How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank
of The Hartford Courant
Part Eight
Chapter Five: Newport Rum, African Slaves
Part One
by Gene Kizer, Jr.
MAIN-2-inside-slave-ship-4-7-22 78K

At the end of this article beneath the notes I have cited is "Actual Citation from Book," Complicity's notes from Chapter Five. The two pictures come from Pages 96 and 106.

RHODE ISLAND DOMINATED SLAVE TRADING more than any other of the thirteen original American states:

In the century before Congress voted to ban the slave trade beginning in 1808, Rhode Island launched nearly 1,000 voyages to Africa, carrying at least 100,000 slaves back across the Atlantic.1

Despite the enthusiastic slave trading of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and other Northern ports, it was small compared to Europeans who "transported nearly all the estimated 11.5 million Africans sold over three centuries into New World slavery, including the approximately 645,000 sent to the American colonies."2

Rhode Island was also one of three states to reserve the Right of Secession before acceding to the Constitution. The other two were New York and Virginia.

That is extremely important because it, alone, proves the right of secession. There is much other irrefutable evidence of the right of secession but the reserved right of secession demanded by Rhode Island, New York and Virginia, was granted by all the other states, which means they had it too because all states entered the Union as exact equals.

Rhode Island's slave trading was so aggressive and successful they competed "with European powers."3 It brought great wealth into the state and often was a family affair:

The reputation of Aaron Lopez and his father-in-law Jacob Rodriguez Rivera as wealthy and supremely honorable Jewish businessmen spread far beyond Rhode Island. Lopez, a 'merchant prince' who prospered in the Triangle Trade, was a founder of Touro Synagogue in Newport, the oldest synagogue in America and a site on the National Historic Register. The Wanton family produced  four colonial governors and also launched slave voyages. Two of Newport's most active traders, the Vernon brothers, Samuel and William, found a steady customer in Henry Laurens, the leading slave merchant in Charleston, South Carolina. During the Revolution, Laurens was a president of the Continental Congress.4

Most of the Newport slave traders were not captains. They financed voyages or owned slave ships.

They branched out too and became known as "rum-men" to the black tribal chieftains who took their captives to the 40 or so slave forts and castles along the African coast:

When the Newport trade first reached a peak just before the Revolution, its vessels were carrying 200,000 gallons a year to Africa, where ship captains bartered for slaves by the barrel. An African man in his prime could be bought for about 150 gallons.5

As stated many times in the past, slave trading via the Triangle Trade financed much of the infrastructure of the Old North:

Two dozen distilleries operated in Newport alone. In 1772, merchants who owned slaving vessels, who traded in molasses and rum, or who operated distilleries occupied 8 of the top 10 positions on Newport's tax rolls.6

This was true not only in Rhode Island but also in Massachusetts, Connecticut and other places.

All of this slave trading wealth "ushered the town into its first golden age. The rich and famous from distant colonies spent summers there. Prosperous ship captains formed the charitable Fellowship Club that had rules against cursing, gambling, and drunkenness."7 Many slave trading captains attended Trinity Church.

Those people who demand the public pay them reparations for slavery should go to Newport, Boston, New York and the other Northern slave trading ports and get them to pay it since they brought so many of the slaves here.

Perhaps they should get guilty Europeans, the British, Spanish, Portuguese and other slave traders as well to pay.

Of course, the good folks alive today in Newport, Boston, New York and in Europe, never owned a slave or supported slavery in any way. Most are undoubtedly appalled by slavery. They have no debt to anybody alive today for things some people's ancestors did hundreds of years ago.

Everybody's ancestors went through some kind of hell in those times whether it was women dying in child birth, thousands killed by diseases we cure easily today, Southerners who died fighting for their homes and families when the South was invaded by murdering, raping incendiaries for wanting to govern themselves as the Declaration of Independence guaranteed.

The most widely quoted phrase in the secession debate in the South in the year before Southern states started seceding came from the Declaration of Independence:

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

If you must make somebody pay reparations today then make those whose ancestors are most responsible: The descendants of African tribal chieftains who captured other Africans and sold them into slavery.

Of course, even those folks owe nothing to people alive today. Many of them probably wish their ancestors had bequeathed American citizenship to them.

Orders given by Jacob Rivera and Aaron Lopez in 1772 to one of their slave ship captains make their barbaric trade sound like business as usual:

'Lying any considerable time on the [African] coast is not only attended with very heavy expense, but also great risk of the slaves you have on board. We therefore would recommend to you dispatch, even if you are obliged to give a few gallons more or less on each slave.'8

They wanted the captain to brand a group of 40 slaves they already had and keep them separate from new purchases:

'To these slaves we desire you'll put some particular mark that may distinguish them from those of the cargo, so that their sales in the West Indies may be kept by itself, for the insurance on these is not blended with the cargo.'9

Rhode Island's Reverend Samuel Hopkins preached against slave trading after the Revolution:

'The inhabitants of Rhode Island, especially those of Newport, have had by far the greater share of this traffic, of all these United States. This trade in human species has been the first wheel of commerce in Newport, on which every other movement in business has chiefly depended.'10

Newport was occupied by the British in the Revolution which lulled its slave trading but once the Revolution was one, Newport started back with a vengeance. Before the Revolution they had traded mostly with the West Indies sugar islands but after the Revolution it was the Deep South.


Next Week:
A Comprehensive Review of
How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery
by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank
of The Hartford Courant
Part Nine
Chapter Five: Newport Rum, African Slaves
Part Two


(Click Here to go to last week's blog article:

Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery, by Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank of The Hartford Courant - A Comprehensive Review by Gene Kizer, Jr., Part Seven, Chapter Four: Rebellion in Manhattan)


(Scroll down for:
Complicity, Actual Citation from Book)

1 Anne Farrow, Joel Lang, and Jenifer Frank, Complicity, How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery (New York: Ballantine Books, Copyright 2005 by The Hartford Courant Company), 95.

2 Ibid.

3 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 95-97.

4 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 98.

5 Ibid.

6 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 98-99.

7 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 99.

8 Ibid.

9 Ibid.

10 Farrow, Lang, Frank, Complicity, 99-100.


Actual Citation from Book

NOTES-2-Part-Eight-4-7-22 69K
NOTES-3-Part-Eight-4-7-22 73K
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