A Note On The Negro Slave Trade
Taken from Charles Beard’s
The Rise Of American Civilization Page 93
Among the filiated industries of the sea was a formidable traffic in rum which touched many shores and sustained many thriving towns. The sugar and molasses of the West Indies were carried to New England, especially to Rhode Island, where they were transformed into a spirit with the qualities of liquid fire. This beverage was then sold in enormous quantities to the fishermen engaged with net and harpoon in biting winds and chilling spray, to stalwart laborers in the dockyards, and to masters of sailing ships, who never failed on the appointed hour to serve grog as named in the bond.
Larger quantities of rum went into the slave trade. It was the staple article in that branch of business enterprise; it passed as currency on the West coast of Africa, where Negroes, to slake their fierce appetite, would sell their enemies, their friends, their mothers, fathers, wives, daughters, and sons for New England’s scalding potion. The unhappy victims of this traffic, huddled in the low spaces made vacant by the removal of hogsheads, were taken to the West Indies to raise more sugar or to the plantations of the Southern colonies to toil in the rice and tobacco fields.
So the Negro slave sellers didn’t even take cash; they sold their fellows for a mess of potage.