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Full text of "Slavery in the province of South Carolina, 1670-1770"

AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 




&LAVEBX IN THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH 
CAROLINA, 1670-1770. 




BT 




EDWARD McCRADY, 

OF CHARLESTON, S. C. 




the Annual Beport of the American Historical Association for 1895, pages 631*«73.) 






WASHINGTON: 

GOVERNMENT PEENTING OFFICE. 

1896, 





AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 



SLAVERY IN THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH 
CAROLINA. 1G70-1770. 



BY 









EDWA1II) McCKADY, 

OK CHARLESTON, S. C. 



( From tin- Animal Report of tlie American Historical Association for 1895, pages 631-673.) 



WASHINGTON: 

GOVKRNME.NT PRINTING OFFICE. 

180 0. 



SLAVERY IN THE PROVINCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1670-1770. 



By Edward McCrady. 



Sir John Yeamans was tbe first who introduced African 
slaves into Carolina. These he brought from Barbados in 
1071 to cultivate his plantation on Ashley River.' But the 
institution of slavery in America was contemporaneous with 
the planting of the colonies; nor was the form of servile labor 
which was first introduced that which ultimately prevailed. 
In the early days of Massachusetts, Virginia, and Maryland, 
as well as in South Carolina, the slave was not a negro, but an 
Englishman condemned, either penally or by contract, to a 
limited^ period of bondage. At the outset this class was sup- 
plied from two sources. A few were felons, usually those with 
whom capital punishment had been commuted to colonial 
servitude. These, however, were not numerous, and probably 
had but little effect on the general character of the popu- 
lation. The bulk of the indented servants were laborers 
who bound themselves for a fixed term of service, with the 
certainty of becoming small freeholders at the end of that 
period. 

Gradually the system changed. The great tobacco planta- 
tions of Virginia needed a larger servile population than could 
be provided by the chance supply of pardoned criminals. As 
has been observed, there were few ages of English history in 
which this resource would have insured so constant a supply 
as in the latter half of the seventeenth century. The field of 
Dunbar in 1050, Penruddock's attempt against the Common- 
wealth in Ki55, the Scotch rebellion in lfilill, the rising in the 
west under Monmouth in 1686, the Jacobitic insurrection in 
1715, each furnished its share of prisoners to the colonies. 
But the demand was far in excess of such precarious aids. 



'Ramsay, Vol. 1, 35; Historical Sketches of Sou tb Carolina (Rivers), 104. 

1131 



632 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

and, as might have been expected, if soon produced a reg- 
ular organized supply. Ir became a trade to furnish the plan- 
tations with servile labor drawn from the offscourings of the 
mother country. 1 By an act of Parliament of 1718, offenders 
who had escaped the death penalty were handed over to con- 
tractors, who engaged to transport them to the American 
colonies. 

In the proposals made to all such persons as should under- 
take to become the first settlers •• in the province of Carolina 
to the southward and westward of Cape K'omana," in Hilton's 
Voyage, Kii>.">, 500 acres of la ml were offered for every 1,000 
pounds of sugar, provided that the person so subscribing should 
'• within five years next ensuing have one person ^white or 
black, young or old) transported at their charge as aforesaid 
on that or some other parcel of land in the province." Fifty 
acres of land were offered lor every manservant carried or 
sent. To every manservant who should go with the tirst 
adventure, 51) acres; to such as would go with the second 
adventure, 30 acres: and for all other servants that should go 
within the fust Jive years. L'O acres, and for every woman serv- 
ant, 10 acres. To the owner of every negro man or slave 
brought thither within the tirst year, 20 acres, and for every 
woman negro or slave, 1<> acres; and all men negroes or slaves 
after that time and within the tirst live years, 10 acres; and 
for every woman negro or slave, 5 acres. 2 And so in U A list 
of all such .Masters, free passengers, and servants which are 
now aboard the Carolina, now ridinge in the Downes, August 
10, LG09," sent to Lord Ashley by .Joseph West, when setting- 
out on his voyage with the tirst colonists, we find seventeen 
masters with sixty-two servants and but thirteen other emi- 
grants with no servants. 1 In an extract from the journal of 
the grand council we find this adjudication upon the case of one 
of the servants who came out in this way under the terms of 
the proposals: 

June 8, 1672, Mr. Thomas Soma, Anthony Churne, and Samuel Lucas 
came this day before tin- Grand Councill and made oath that thoy were 
privie to the contract between Richard Deyos and Christopher Edwards, 
his servant, and that the said Christopher Edwards was to serve the said 

1 English Colonies iu America (Doyle), 382; Bancroft, Vol. I (ed. 1SS3), 125. 

Hilton's Voyage of Discovery. Charleston Vearhook (Courtenay), 
L884, pp. 228, 229. w 

The Voyage of the Colonists. Charleston Vearhook (Courtenay), 1886; 
pp. 246-249. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 033 

Richard Peyos the term of two years in this Province, to commence from 
the time of his arrival there, and ended on the 17 March last past. 

The said Christopher Edwards is therefore reputed a Freeman, and lias 
liberty granted him to take warrants for the land due him in the Province 
aforesaid. 1 

The privy council in England, May 27, 1C84, ordered the 
commissions of Glasgow and Dumfries to sentence and banish 
to the plantations in America such of the rebels as appeared 
penitent, in the ship belonging to Walter Gibson, merchant. 
The greatest cruelty to these poor creatures, thirty-two in 
number, was exercised by Capt. James Gibson, who com- 
manded the vessel. An incident occurred in this shipment of 
prisoners illustrative of the common danger to which all people 
in Great Britain were subject from the rapacity of those 
engaged in the nefarious business of supplying the colonies 
with white slaves. While the ship was lying ready to sail from 
the Clyde Elizabeth Linning came down to visit the prisoners, 
some of them being her relatives, she was seized by Captain 
Gibson's order, but succeeded in escaping to shore, whereupon 
Gibson sent ashore, recaptured her, and carried her to Caro- 
lina with the other prisoners for the purpose of selling her. 
She appears, however, to have been a person of some force 
and decision of character, for immediately upon the arrival ot 
the vessel she found an opportunity of appealing to the gov- 
ernor, and informed him of her capture and of the intention 
of the captain to sell her. The governor took up the case at 
once, and cited the captain before him and his council. There 
he was closely interrogated as to the circumstances of her 
imprisonment and transportation, and failing to satisfy the 
council, the following order was made by that body: 

At a council held at Charles Town, October of 1684, upon the reading of 
the petition of Elizabeth Linning against Captain James Gibson, com- 
mander of the Carolina, merchant, in full council, it was ordered as follows : 

Whereas upon the confession of Captain Gibson that the within-written 
Elizabeth Linning was, without the consent of the said Elizabeth, brought 
to this province by force and by a pretended order from Lieutenant-Colonel 
Windram, but the said Gibson producing none, it was ordered that the 
said Elizabeth be set at liberty as a free woman.-' 

In 108(3 the first act relating to servants and slaves was 
passed in Carolina. It was entitled "An act inhibiting the 



1 Historical Sketches (Rivers), Appendix, p. 37!i. 
s Howes History Presbyterian Church, pp. 82-So. 



♦J34 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION'. 

trading with servants or slave's.'" Some of its provisions 
applied to white sen ants, others to slaves (who were either 
negroes or Indians). Lt prohibited any free man or tree woman, 
servant or slave, to buy or sell or trade with any servant or 
slave during his servitude without the privity or consent of the 
master. If servants traded together, both buyer and seller 
were to serve their masters, respectively, one whole year more 
than their contracted terms. If the offender was a free man 
or free woman, he or she was to forfeit three times the real 
value of the thing bought or sold, to be recovered by due 
course of law, and the servant or slave to abide such punish- 
ment, not extending to life or limb, as the grand conned or 
any two justices of the peace (one of whom being of the grand 
council) should deem tit. Tf a servant embezzle*!, wasted, con- 
sumed, or destroyed any of his master's goods, such servant 
was required to serve so long a time after the expiration of his 
term as any three justices of the peace (one of whom being a 
member of the grand council) should judge proper to make 
satisfaction. For striking a master, mistress, or overseer a 
servant was to be condemned by the grand council to serve one 
whole year over and above the contracted time of servitude. 
Servants absconding were to serve twenty-eight days above 
the contracted term of servitude. 1 Of the provisions of this 
act in regard to slaves we shall speak hereafter. 

To avoid fraud between masters and servants "when servants 
arrived in the province without indentures or contracts, an 
act was passed in 1G87 prescribing terms of servitude. 2 In 
LG91 these acts were revised. The punishment for servants 
absenting themselves was increased, and they were required 
to serve one whole week for every day of absence and one 
whole year for every week over and above the contracted 
term of service. Other provisions were added in favor of the 
servants. It was provided that if any master, mistress, or 
overseer should, under the pretext of correction, whip or un- 
reasonably abuse a servant, such servant complaining to the 
grand council and making good his complaint might be set at 
liberty, or such other relief given as the grand council should 
think just. So if the master failed to give good, wholesome, 
and sufficient meat, drink, lodging, and apparel, the grand 
council might give the servant liberty or other relief.' 

l 2 Statutes, S. C., p. 22. J 2 Statutes, S. C, p. 30. '2 Statutes, S. C, p. 5J. 



' SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 635 

The number of white servants coming into the province 
called for farther legislation, and another act was passed in 
1717 ] still further regulating the terms of service of those who 
came without contracts, and providing that at the end of his 
term of service a servant might demand a certificate of free- 
dom. The penalty for refusing such a certificate appears, how- 
ever, very slight. It was but 40 shillings in each case. While 
no person could be forced into servitude who had not obliged 
himself by contract, a person brought into the province by an 
importer was required to pay his passage money, with exchange, 
within twentvdavs after his arrival. A servant brought from 
any other colony was required to complete the term of servi- 
tude which he would have served in that colony and no more. 
Every person keeping a servant, whether by virtue of transpor- 
tation, purchase, or otherwise, was required within six months 
to take such servant before the governor, one of the lord pro- 
prietor's deputies, or two justices to have his age determined 
and a certificate of it entered in the secretary of state's office. 
Without such certificate no master could claim but five years' 
service. The term of servitude was to begin upon the first 
anchoring within the province of the vessel on which the serv- 
ant was imported. No bargain or agreement for a longer con- 
tinuance of service was allowed to be made during the term of 
the first service. The same provisions were made in regard to 
the prohibiting of trading with servants. "Ilired laborers" 
were included in the penalties for striking a master, and to 
former penalties was added the punishment of twenty-one 
stripes, to be inflicted by order of two justices of the peace. 
The time of increased servitude as punishment for running 
awav was limited to two vears over and above the contract 
term. But servants running away in company with slaves 
were to suffer as felons without benefit of clergy. 

Suitable diet, clothing, and lodging were to be provided, and 
punishment was not to exceed the bounds of moderation. 
Upon any offense against these provisions servants might 
complain to a justice of the peace, who was to admonish the 
master for a first offense; for a second, two justices might levy 
and distrain a sum not exceeding £10, and for a third might 
sell and assign the time of such servant to some other white 
person. 



'3 Statutes, S. C.,p. 14. 



636 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION-. 

Servants bringing goods into the province were allowed prop- 
erty in them, with the power of disposal. Masters were n<»t 

allowed to turn away their servants upon pretense of freedom 
or otherwise so as to burden the parish, but were required 
to maintain them during the whole time the servant had to 
serve. The white father or mother of a mulatto child, whether 
tree or servant, it was provided by this act, if free, should be- 
come a servant for the term <>f seven years; if already a serv- 
ant, should serve for that additional period. 

The act prescribed the clothing the master or mistress 
should allow the servant upon the expiration of the term of 
servitude. Disputes between masters and servants concern- 
ing contracts, wages, freedom, or any other matter of differ- 
ence were both heard and determined by any two justices of 
the peace, with an appeal by either party to the governor and 
council. 

Such was the code regarding white servants, which remained 
the law until 17 14, when, under Governor Glen's administration, 
it was again revised and supervised by a more elaborate act. 1 
The principal features of the act of 1717 were retained in the 
new code, but some of its provisions were rendered more strin- 
gent. The additions to the law were chiefly in regard to runa- 
ways. Xo servant was allowed to travel above two miles from 
his residence without a note under the master's hand. Every 
person was authorized to apprehend anyone suspected of be- 
ing a fugitive servant, and forthwith to conduct such person 
to the nearest justice of the peace, who was required to exam- 
ine and inquire, in the best manner he could, whether such 
person was really a fugitive servant or not. If he appeared to 
be a fugitive, the justice should immediately order him to be 
whipped, not exceeding twenty stripes, and deliver him to the 
constable, to be returned to his master, or to the constable of 
the next parish, if the master resided in another, and so until 
he reached his master. If a servant should offend by running 
away more than once, the first constable in whose hands he 
fell was required to inflict the twenty-one lashes, and each suc- 
ceeding constable seven more. Xo ferry was allowed to be 
kept without one free white man in attendance, and no servant 
was allowed to be ferried without a note from his master. 

These provisions caused not only inconvenience but danger 
to white freemen traveling abroad. -V strange white man 



'3 Statutes, s. C, p. 621. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 637 

api»earing-in a community was liable to arrest and summary 
ignominious punishment, either through mistake or malice, 
and 80 it was provided that justices of the peace should issue 
certificates or passports to freemen intending to travel. The 
sei-vant traveled upon the master's certificate; the freeman 
ujkhj that of a justice of the peace. 

In ITlfi, that is, the year after the Indian outbreak, an act 
wa< passed 1 reciting that sad experience had taught that the 
small number of the white inhabitants of the province was 
not sufficient to defend it against their Indian enemies; and 
as the number of slaves was daily increasing, which must 
likewise endanger its safety if speedy care were not taken to 
encourage the importation of white servants, and providing 
a bounty of £25 for each white servant who had no less than 
four years to serve.after his arrival in the province, and for 
all who were imported within two years after the ratifica- 
tion of the act, an additional £5 per head. Every owner of a 
plantation to which ten slaves belonged, young or old, was 
required to take from the public receiver, who had the disposal 
of them, a white servant when it fell to his lot to do so, and 
to pay the receiver such price for the servant as the. receiver 
gave to the importer for the same. 

The owner of every plantation to which twenty slaves be- 
longed was required to take two white servants, and so in pro- 
portion. But still so strong was the prejudice against Roman 
Catholics that not even to increase the white population would 
the colony allow their introduction. The act provided espe- 
cially that no person should be required to purchase Irish 
servants that were papists or persons convicted in England or 
elsewhere of capital crimes. So earnest were the colonists 
of the time against popery, even in servants, that merchants 
and masters of vessels were required to declare upon their 
oaths that to the best of their knowledge none of the servants 
imported by them were either what was commonly called native 
Irish or persons of known scandalous character or Roman Cath- 
olics. " Irish servants being Protestants'" might be imported. 

The agent of the colony in England petitioned for some of 
the persons taken in the Scottish rebellion, and in June, 17K1, 
Deputy Governor Daniels informed the assembly that he had 
boughl of the Highland Scots rebels at £30 per head, and 
wished for power to purchase more. The assembly sanctioned 



'2 Statutes, S. C, p. 646. 



638 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

his purchase. l>nt \\ ished no more •• fill we see Uow these will 
behave themselves." ' 

This attempt to prevent the too great disproportion of whites 
and blacks continued to the time of the Revolution. It was, 
however, but partially successful. Notwithstanding the re. 
cital of thr act of 1717 of the great number of white servants 
which had arrived in the province, comparatively few came 
until the sett lenient of the Swiss ami German in Saxe-Gotha 
and Orangeburg. But some did come. We find some curious 
advertisements in the Gazette for runaway white servants, as 
well as for runaway negroes. 

Alexander Vanderdusseu, one of the King's council, adver- 
tises July 27, 17.51: 

Whereas Thomas Ilutler Fencing Master has been runaway these two 
years since, and has been entertained by several gentlemen abont the 
Ferry who pretend not to know that bo had a master, this is therefore to 
desire that they would not do the like in the future. And any one that 
takes the said liutler and brings him to < loose (reek or Charles Town will 
have 10 1. 

On the 30th of August, 17!4, this appears: 

To be sold. A white man servant's time. He is a taylor by trade and 
a very good workman. Enquire of EIhgh Evans Taylor in Church St 
( lharlestown. 

Xo sale was, however, effected under the advertisement, as 
appears by this subsequent notice: 

Run away on Tuesday the 12th instant from Hugh Evans Taylor, in 
Cbarlestown a servant man named John Thompson, a Taylor by trade 
about 21 years of age, fresh colored well set and nigh six foot high, squint 
eyed speaks broad Scots and stutters in his speech; he had on when he 
went away drab lly coat, bright colored worsted stockings, a new pair of 
shoes, a high colored natural whig. Whoever takes up the said servant 
ami brings him to the said master iu Cbarlestown shall have 20/. paid by — 
Hugh Evans. 

Again, on the 7th of December, 17>4, there appears this 

notice: 

Just imported and to be sold by Hutchinson it Grimke Irish servants, 
men and women of good trades from the North of Ireland, Irish linen, 
household furniture, butter tea china ware and all sorts of dry goods on 
reasonable terms. 

On the 29th of March, 1733. arc advertised as runaways: 

Two Irishmen servants both talking broad Scotch one named /'oyer 
it' \fntiij a tall pock fret ten freckle-faced Fellow stooping in the shoulders 
bis hair cut and wore a linnen cap, a dark brow n coloured Coat and West- 

1 Historical Sketches of South Carolina (Rivers), p. 276. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 639 

coat, leather breeches, anil a new pair of Negro shoes, he had a double 
thumb with two nails on one hand. The other named Alexander Sinkler 
a short thick well set surly looking brown hair'd smooth faced sharp long 
nosed fresh coulored fellow wearing a dark gray coarse karsey new coat 
with buttons of the same, a )>air of old brown breeches a pair of gray 
yarn stockings and a pair of new Negro shoes with two or three lifts, 
each of them about 24 or 25 years old, and also two negro men, 1. 10 reward 
for them. N. B. Hue and Cry are goue.after them. 

These are only samples of such advertisements; there are 
others. As late as 170(3 advertisements appear for the sale of 
indentures of about 220 Palatine servants just imported from 
Rotterdam. Among them are said to be farmers, millers, 
bakers, brewers, masons, smiths, carpenters, joiners, coopers, 
tailors, weavers, shoemakers, saltpeter makers, potash makers, 
some in families and others single; also boys and girls. 1 

Some of the best and most useful immigrants were persons 
who, too poor to pay their passage money across the ocean, were 
brought to America by captains of vessels, and sold on their 
arrival to anyone who desired to secure their labor. These 
were called "redemptiouers." The price for which they were 
sold in Carolina was usually from £5 to £0. Both men and 
women were thus alike sold to service, from which they re- 
deemed themselves by hard labor for a period of from three to 
live years. A large part of Parry's unfortunate colony, and of 
the Swiss and Germans who settled Orangeburg and Saxe- 
liotha, now Lexington, were of this class. 

The advantages, it has been observed, were mutual. Pass- 
ing on into what was then the frontier, these people formed a 
defense to the country against the inroads of the Spaniards 
and Indians; and as many of them were excellent farmers and 
some useful artisans, and all of them hard-working people, 
they speedily settled and improved the country. On the other 
hand, as they were the poorer class of the people at home in 
Europe, they had nothing to risk in the shape of property. 
They would have remained in the same condition had they 
not emigrated, whereas by coming, even under this arrange- 
ment, they enjoyed the flattering prospect of securing compe- 
tency, if not, indeed, wealth, at some future day. Then, again, 
their servitude became their apprenticeship in America, while 
they learned the English language and became acquainted 
with the laws and customs of the new country. 2 



1 South Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, January 14, 17t3t>. 
-History of German Settlements, etc. (Bemheim), pp. 131, 132. 



640 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

"Yet it must be confessed,' 1 continues the author from, whom 
we quote, •• these poor settlers had to endure many hardships. 

Often were they rigorously treated by their ship captains; ill 
and insufficiently fed on their voyage across the ocean and on 
shore before they were purchased for their services; exposed 
publicly for sale as the African slave; often treated harshly 
by their masters who purchased them, and compelled to labor 
in the broiling - sun of a Southern climate — many by disease 
and death closed their short earthly career.'' Several instances 
are cited of neglect and inhumanity on the part of the cap- 
tains of vessels who brought out these people in which the 
Government interfered and protected the redemptioners. 1 



The slavery of the white man in the colonies was temporary, 
though rigid while it lasted, but that of the Indian and negro 
was absolute. 

The enslavement of the Indian in America preceded the 
importation of negro slaves. The play, or opera fas it was 
termed), of Inkle and Yarico, the plot of which turns upon 
the capture of two beautiful savage women in the forests of 
America and their abduction and transportation to Barbados, 
was criticised because its first scene was laid in America 
instead of Africa. 2 But Coleman, the author of the play, which, 
it is said, was performed with success in every theater in Eng- 
land, and was popular because of its moral, before Wilberforce 
advocated the abolition of the slave trade, and had, it was 
claimed, the peculiar honor of preceding that movement, was 
a better historian than his critic. The mistake of the criticism 
was in assuming that the captive maidens were negresses, 
which is not intimated in the play. '-The charming heathens, 
Yarico and Woroske," who were lured to Barbados were sup- 
posed to have been Indians and not Africans. The story, 
though embellished by the creative imagination and descriptive 
powers of Addison, was indeed founded upon historic fact. 
The incident of which the playwright made so much at tie- 
time was probably not even an uncommon one. Indeed, tie- 
fust Europeans who trod the soil of Carolina wen; Spaniards 



1 History of German Settlements, etc. (Bernheim), \>. I»M, 

- [nchbald'a British Theater. Vol. XX. 

3 See the story in Ligon's History of IJarbadoes, i>. '■•■>■ 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. G41 

who had sailed in 1520 from Hispaniola for the purpose of 
securing in the island of Lucayos a supply of Indians to take 
hack with them to work as slaves in the gold mines. 

Note. — The story of Inkle and Yarico, though embellished by the crea- 
tive imagination and descriptive powers of Addison (Spectator, Xo. 11) 
iiml added to by Coleman, was indeed, if Ligon is to be believed, based 
upon historic fact. The story is thus told in Ligon's History of Barba- 
(locs. p. , r >5: 

•• An English ship having ]>ut into a bay scut some of her men ashore to 
1 in what victuals or water they could find; but the Indians, perceiving 
(liem to go far into the country, intercepted them on their return, and fell 
upon them, chasing them iuto a wood, where some were taken and some 
killed, A young man, whose name was Inkle, strangling from the rest, was 
met by an Indian maid, who upon the first sight fell in love with him, and 
lud him close from her countrymen iu a cave, and there fed him till they could 
safely go down to the shore where the ship lay at anchor, expecting the re- 
t u rn of their friends. But the youth when he came to Barbadoes forgot 
l he kindness of the poor maid who had ventured her life for his safety, 
and sold her for a slave. And so poor Yarico for her love lost her liberty." 

Ligon, describing her, speaks of ••her excellent shape and colour, which 
was a pure bright bay; and small breasts, with nipples of porphyrie.'' 
The story goes on, however, to tell that the Indian maiden did not long 
mourn her faithless lover, but soon consoled herself with others. 

It was the observation of the horrors inflicted upon the In- 
dian slaves in the Spanish West Indies that induced the good 
Las Casas, the early friend of the red man. to remonstrate 
with his Government against the system and to urge the im- 
portation of negroes accustomed in their native land to a state 
of bondage. 

Indian captives everywhere in America were enslaved. 
Among the " fundamentals." or body of liberties, adopted in 
Massachusetts as early as Kill we find the distinct recognition 
of the lawfulness of Indian and negro slavery, as well as an 
approval of the African slave trade. 1 The articles of the New 
Kngland Confederacy in 1043 not only provided for the return 
o\' fugitive slaves, but classed persons among the spoils of 
war, and the strictest morals of the day doomed captive red 
men to slavery. 2 In 1650, Indians who failed to make satisfac- 
tion for injuries in Connecticut were ordered to be seized and 
delivered to the injured party, "either to serve or to be shipped 
out and exchanged for negroes, as the ease will justly bear." 3 
So, too, Indians were doubtless taken and held as slaves in 

1 Cobb on Slavery, ]>. cxlvii ; ] Ilildreth's Histoi y, p. 278. 
- Bancroft, Vol. I fed. 1883 i. pp. 125-293. 
1 Hildreth.p. 372. 
H. Doc. 291 II 



642 AMERICAN' HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

Carolina. In LCS4 Maurice Mathews, James Moore, and Ar- 
thur Middle ton were displaced from the council for sending 
away [ndian slaves ' — not because the kidnapping of Indians 
was deemed wrong in itself, but because they were trespassing 
upon the privileges of the proprietors in the matter. The pro- 
visions of all the acts in regard to slavery from 1090 onward 
are made to apply to Indian as well as to African slaves. Sir 
Nathaniel Johnson, the governor, and his council wrote to the 
lord proprietors on the 17th of September, 170S, giving an 
account of the condition of the province, in which they state: 

The number of inhabitants in this province of all sorts are computed to 
he 9,580 souls, of which there are 1,360 freemen, 900 tree women, 60 white 
servant men. GO white servant women, 1,700 white tree children, 1,800 ne- 
gro men slaves, 1,100 women negro slaves, 500 Indian men slaves, 600 Indian 
women slaves, 1.200 negro children slaves, and 300 Indian children slaves. 

The freemen of this province, by reason of the late sickness, brought 
hither from other parts, though now very healthy, and small supply from 
other parts, are within these tive years last past decreased about 100, free 
women about 10: white servants, from the aforesaid reasons and having 
completed their servitude, are decreased 50; white servant women, for the 
same reasons, are decreased 30; white children are increased 500; negro 
men slaves, by importation, 300; negro women, slaves, 200. Indian men 
slaves, by reason of our late conquest over the French and Spaniards 
and the success of our forces against the Appalaskys and other Indian 
engagements, are within these five years increased to the number of 100 
and the Indian women slaves to 450, negro children to 600, and Indian 
children to 200. * 



The white man served out his term, was declared a freeman, 
took out warrants for the laud to which he was entitled, and 
became a citizen of the province. The Indian pined, sickened, 
and died. The African alone remained, improved, and pros- 
pered in slavery. 

There were no African slaves in the colony until Sir John 
Yeamans brought over his from Barbados, but it can not be 
said that he introduced slavery into the province. Negro 
slavery was an existing and recognized institution in all the 
other colonies before that of South Carolina was planted. 

Thirteen years after the first successful English colony was 
begun at Jamestown, in Virginia — that is, in 1020 — a Dutch 

1 Historical sketches of South Carolina (Rivers), p. 13!>. 

2 Ibid., p. 232 ; Collections Historical Society South Carolina, Vol. II, p. 
217. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 643 

man-of-war lauded twenty slaves and sold them to the colo- 
nists. These, slaves and the Pilgrims in the M ayjlower landed 

in America the same year — the slaves in Virginia and the Pil- 
grims in Massachusetts. As early as 1G2G the West India 
Company imported negro slaves among the quiet burghers of 
New Amsterdam. The city itself owned shares in a slave 
ship, advanced the money for its outfit, and participated in 
the profits. The slaves were sold at public auction to the high- 
est bidder, and the average price Mas less than $140. Stuy- 
vesant was instructed to use every exertion to promote the 
sale of negroes. 1 

"That New York is not a slave State like South Carolina," 
said the great historian of the United States, "is due to cli- 
mate and not to the superior humanity of the founders." 2 In 
1637, negro slaves were imported into Xew England from Provi- 
dence Isle.- 1 The year after 2sew Jersey was divided from Xew 
York — that is, in 1G65 — a bounty of 7."> acres of land was offered 
by the proprietors for the importation of each able-bodied 
slave. 4 

Xot even did the Quakers of Pennsylvania entirely eschew 
the holding of negro slaves. William Penn was a slaveholder. 
In his last will he directed his own slaves to be emancipated, 
but this direction was disregarded by his heir. 5 

Four of the proprietors of Carolina, the Earl of Shaftesbury, 
Earl Craven, Sir George Carteret, and Sir John Colleton, with 
Ralph Marshall and John Portman. who came out with Gov- 
ernor Sayle, were all members of the Royal African Company, 
of which James, Duke of York, was chief, and which was char- 
tered and given the sole trade-in slaves on the African coast. 

Negro slavery being thus a recognized institution in all the 
colonies, it was assumed that it would exist also in Carolina; 
and so we find the philosopher Locke and his friend Shaftes- 



1 Cobb on Slavery, p. cxlix. 

-Bancroft (ed. 1883), Vol. I, p. 513. 

3 Ibid. (ed. Ig83), Vol. I, p. 2!>:-!. Tbe edition of tin- News Letter, pub- 
lished in Boston, for the week from May 22 to May 29, 1710, contains but 
oue advertisement, which is this: 

"Advertisement. — Two negro women, one aged about 25 and the other 
abut 50 years old, to be sold by Mr. Win. Clark, junior, merchant, to be 
seen at his hou.se, Common street, Boston." (The Newspaper Press, Wil- 
liam L. King, p. 12.) 

4 Cobb on Slavery, supra. 

''Bancroft (ed. lbb'3), Vol. L p. 572. 



f)44 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

bury, in their proposed fundamental constitutions of 1<><;9, two 
years before the first negro was brought to the colony, pro- 
viding that " every freeman of Carolina shall hare absolute 
imicer and authority over his negro slaves^ of what opinion or 
religion soever? 

The significance of this provision was not in the recog- 
nition of slavery as an institution in the province — that was 
assumed — nor yet in the absolute power it proposed to give to 
the freeman over his slave, great as that was, but in the last 
words, wherein it was intended to provide against the effect 
of the possible conversion and baptism of the negroes. A 
doubt had arisen and prevailed extensively upon this point. 
The idea Mas that as the enslavement of negroes was mostly 
justified on the ground that they were heathen, upon their 
becoming Christians they would be enfranchised, it is curious 
to observe the effect of this scruple, which appears to have 
been an honest one. Some Christian masters, rather than 
offend their conscience by holding fellow Christians in slavery, 
withheld the gospel from their people, lest they might hear 
and believe and be converted and become as one of them. We 
shall see directly how church and state agreed in dispelling 
this idea. 

With the slaves which Sir John Yeamans and others brought 
over from Barbados and the other West India Islands they 
brought with them the slave code of those islands, especially 
that of Barbados, from which place most of the customs and 
institutions of the province of South Carolina were derived. 
The first statutory provision in South Carolina in regard to 
slaves was that of the act of 1686, already mentioned, inhib- 
iting trading with them and declaring that it should not 
be lawful for a negro or other slave to travel or go abroad 
from the owner's house between sunsetting and sunrising 
without a note from the master, mistress, or overseer, and 
authorizing auy person to apprehend any such and reasonably 
to chastise and correct such slave and cause him to be sent 
home. 

On the 29th of April, Ki08, an act was passed in Barbados 
declaring negro slaves real estate, and not chattels, and enact- 
ing that they should descend to the heir and widow of any 
person dying intestate, according to the manner and custom of 
lands of inheritance held in fee simple. 1 This provision was 



'The La\s>> of I>aib;ulo8. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 645 

followed to a modified extent in South Carolina in this curious 

clause of the act of IG'.H), viz: 

Anil it it further enacted. That all slaves shall have convenient clothes 
once every year, and that no slave shall he free by becoming' a christian, 
but as to payment of <lebts shall be deemed and taken as all other goods 
and chattels, and when other goods and chattels are not sufficient to satisfy 
the said debts, then so many slaves only as are necessary, as well propor- 
tionately out of the slaves assigned for dowry, as those that belong to the 
heirs and executors, shall be sold for payment of debt, and all negroes and 
slaves shall be accounted as freehold in all other cases whatsoever and 
descend accordingly. ' 

And so it was that President Middleton declared to the 
Spanish ambassador, in 1725, that negroes were real property, 
such as houses and lands, in Carolina.-' They were nevertlie- 
less always returned as personal property in the inventories of 
intestates, as the records of the ordinary's or probate office in 
Charleston abundantly show. This condition continued until 
1740, when it was declared that negroes and Indian slaves 
should be reputed and adjudged in law to be chattels personal 
in the hands of their owners and possessors and their execu- 
tors, administrators, and assigns. :i 

On the 8th of August, 1688, "au.act for the governing of 
negroes'' was adopted in Barbados, 4 which served as the basis 
and model of all the legislation in South Carolina upon the 
subject. The first attempt in providing a slave code for this 
province was made under Sothell in 1G90. It followed generally 
the Barbadian act of KISS;"' but was superseded by the more 
elaborate act of 1712 under the administration of Governor 
Charles Craven.'' Ilildreth, commenting upon enactments of 
11W, in Pennsylvania ami Massachusetts imposing prohibi- 
tory duties upon the importation of Indian and negro slaves, 
observes: 7 '•Contemporaneously with these prohibitory acts of 
Pennsylvania and .Massachusetts, the first extant slave law 
of South Carolina was enacted, the basis of the existing slave 
code of that State." He writes: 

" Whereas,"' says the preamble ot this remarkable statute, " the planta- 
tions and estates of this province can not be well and sufficiently managed 



7 Statutes, pp. 343, 341. 
-Hewatt. Vol. 1, p. 314. 
3 7 Statutes. ]>. 3dT. 
4 The Laws of Barbados, act No. 82. 

7 Statutes. ].. 313. 
« Ibid, ].. 352. 
T llildreth's History of the I'niied State- (1840), Vol. 11, p. 271. 



6*4o* AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

and brought into use without the labor and service of negro and other 
slaves; and forasmuch as the -aid negroea and other slaves brought unto 
tlit- people of this province are of barbarous, wild, savage natures and such 
as render them wholly unqualified to be governed by the laws, customs, 
ami practices of this province, but that it is absolutely necessary that 
such other constitutions, laws, and orders should in this province be made 
and enacted for the good regulation and ordering of them as may distrain 
the disorders, rapine, and inhumanity to which they are naturally prone 
and inclined, and may also tend to the safety and security of the people 
of this province and their estates," it therefore enacts, etc. And then 
follows an analysis of the act in which the objectionable features are 
set forth. "South Carolina, it thus appears,'' continues the historian, 
" assumed at the beginning the same had preeminence on the subject of 
slave legislation which she still maintains. '' 

The fact is that this preamble, as well as many of the provi- 
sions of the act thus criticised, were taken verbatim from the 
Barbadian statute of 1088, and were not original declarations 
and measures entitling Carolina to a preeminence, either for 
good or evil, over other slaveholding communities. The act of 
17 12, as has appeared, was not '-the first extant slave law' 7 of the 
province, as the historian alleges; nor was it by any means the 
last. Had he turned but a page of the volume, from which he 
extracted the provisions of the law he so condemned, he would 
have found the following enactment of two years after, 1714, in 
the same direction as those of the two northern provinces to 
which he alludes: 1 

IX. And whereas the numher of negroes do extremely increase in this 
province, and through the athicting providence of Cod the white persons 
do not proportionably multiply, by reason whereof the safety of the said 
province is greatly endangered; for the prevention of which for the future: 

Be it fm titer enacted by the authority aforesaid that all negro slaves from 
twelve years old and upwards imported into this part of the province 
from any part of Africa shall pay such additional duties as is hereafter 
named; that is to say, that every merchant or other person whatsoever 
who shall six months after the ratification of this act import any negro 
slave as aforesaid shall for every such slave pay unto the public receiver 
for the time being ( within thirty days after such importation) the sum of 
two pounds current money of this Province. 

It has already been seen that provisions were made in 1716 
to require each planter to have one white servant for every ten 
negro slaves, and that a bounty of £25 was offered for every 
white servant, and £5 more for such as were imported in two 
years. In the same year by another act a duty of £o0 per 
head was laid upon all negroes imported from any of the 



^Statutes, S.C., p. 367. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 647 

colonies. 1 In 1719 a duty was exacted of £10 per head on all 
negroes imported from Africa directly and £30 on all imported 
from tbe plantations. 2 In 1722 the same duty was laid on 
negroes imported from Africa, £10, and that on negroes from 
the other colonies still further increased to £50. The reason 
given for this discrimination is that the negroes imported from 
the colonies were either transported thence by courts of justice 
or sent oft' by private persons for their ill behavior. 3 

The slave code was again thoroughly revised under Gover- 
nor Nicholson's provisionary government in 1722. The pream- 
ble taken from the Barbadian act was still preserved and the 
principal features of it reenacted, following, indeed, its very 
phraseology in many instances. 4 

All negroes, mulattoes, mustizoes, or Indians that had there- 
tofore been sold and were then held for slaves were declared 
to be slaves, excepting such as had been or thereafter should 
for any peculiar merit be declared free by the governor and 
council under any law of the proviuce. 

No master, mistress, or overseer was allowed to give their 
negroes or other slaves leave on Sundays, fast days, holy days, 
or any other time to go out of their plantations without a letter 
or ticket, unless such negro or slave wore a livery; and any per- 
son seeing a negro or slave out of his master's plantations 
without a ticket or in company with a white person was em- 
powered to correct such servant by whipping, not exceeding 
twenty lashes. An overseer who found a strange negro on his 
master's plantation without leave, and did not apprehend and 
whip him, forfeited 20 shillings. 

•Justices of the peace had power at all times to search for 
guns, pistols, swords, and other "offensive weapons" in negro 
houses, and to take them, unless the negro or slave having 
them had a ticket or license in writing from his master allow- 
ing him to hunt, to be renewed once every month, or unless 
when in company with a white person hunting. No master or 
mistress should allow more than one negro on one plantation 
the privilege. If any slave so intrusted killed another man's 
cattle, sheep, or hogs, or did any damage with it, the master 
was liable in double the value. 

1 2 Statutes, S.C., p. 651. 
E 3 Statutes. S. C, p. 57. 
3 Ibid., p. 11)5. 
"7 Statutes, S. C, p. 371. 



648 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION'. 

Patrols had fall power and authority to enter any plan- 
tation and break open negro houses or other places when 
negroes were suspected of keeping arms: to punish runaways 
or slaves found out of their masters' plantations without a 
ticket; to correct by moderate whipping any slave who should 
affront or abuse them in the execution of their office; and to 
apprehend and take up any slave suspected of stealing or other 
criminal offense, and to carry him to the next magistrate. 

Upon complaint made to any justice of the peace of any 
heinous or grievous crime or capital offense, such as murder, 
burglary, robbery, willful burning <>f dwelling houses, barns, 
stables, kitchens, or stacks of rice or tar kilns, barrels of pitch 
or tar, or any other capital offense for which clergy is taken 
away by the laws of England and of the province, committed 
by any slave, the justice should issue his warrant for appre- 
hending the offender; and if upon examination it probably 
appeared that the person was guilty, he should commit him to 
prison, or immediately proceed to try him according to the form 
specified. To do this he was to certify to the justice next to 
him the cause, and to require him "to associate himself to him'' 
in the trial. The justices so associated were to issue their sum- 
mons to three sufficient freeholders, acquainting them with the 
matter, and appointing a time and place when and where the 
same should be heard; upon which hearing the freeholders, 
being first sworn to judge uprightly according to the evidence, 
in case they found the negro or slave guilty, should give sen- 
tence of death, the kind of death to be left to their judgment. 
Of this court, two justices and one freeholder, or one justice 
and two freeholders, constituted a quorum, and their acquittal 
or conviction was final. For lesser offenses, such as stealing 
or killing neat cattle, sheep, hogs, shoats, or pigs, for the first 
offense such slave was branded with an lv on the right cheek; 
for the second, with an It on the left cheek and whipped not 
exceeding forty lashes, and for the third offense he should 
suffer death. The master or mistress was required to satisfy 
the party from whom the stealing or killing was done, except 
when the negro was put to death. 

For every offense not particularly named in the act for which 
a white man was allowed the benefit of clergy and was pun- 
ished by burning in the hand, the slave was to be burned with 
the letter R on the forehead, and for a second offense should 
suffer death. For burglary, an offense for which the white man 
suffered death without the benefit of the clergy, for tha first 



' SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 649 

offense the negro was not to be put to death, but branded on 
the right cheek and whipped not exceeding: thirty-nine lashes; 
for the second offense, branded on the left cheek and likewise 
whipped, and to suffer death only for the third offense. For 
stealing; fowls, robbing henroosts, or any other less offense a 
single justice might inflict punishment by whipping. In case 
of mutiny the court of justices and freeholders might inflict 
death or any other penalty. 

The confession of any slave accused, or the testimony of any 
other slave that the justices and freeholders should believe, 
was to be held good in all crimes not capital. But no negro 
or other slave was to suffer the loss of life or limb but upon 
conviction on his own free and voluntary confession or "by 
the oath of Christian evidence, or at least by the plain and 
positive evidence of two negroes or slaves so circumstanced 
that there shall not be sufficient reason to doubt the truth 
thereof." except in the case of murder, in which the evidence 
of one slave, attended with circumstances of which the justices 
and freeholders on the court were made the judges, or "upon 
violent presumption"' of the accused persons guilt, was suffi- 
cient. 

If any white person, freeman or servant, tempted or per- 
suaded a negro to leave his master's service with the design of 
carrying him out of the province, he forfeited to the master 
£2.">; and in case he did not pay, the next magistrate should 
order the offender to be publicly whipped, not exceeding forty 
lashes. If he succeeded in actually carrying the negro out 
of the province, it was declared felony without the benefit of 
clergy, and the offender was to suffer death as a felon. A 
slave running away with intent to go from the province to 
deprive his master of his services was to suffer death; but if 
several went off together, one (or two, at the most) should be 
executed, the rest to be punished corporeally as the justice 
should adjudge, and the owner of the negroes saved to con- 
tribute proportionately to the loss of those whose slaves were 
executed. In all cases in which negroes or slaves were exe- 
cuted, the justices and freeholders were to value them, and to 
assess the value on the lands and negroes within their respec- 
tive jurisdictions, so that the loss should not fall only upon 
the owner. 

If a negro or slave should strike a white person, for the first 
offense he was to be severely whipped and to have his right 
eai cut off, and fcrthe second, the justices and freeholders might 



650 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

inflict any punishment, according to their discretion, except 
death. 

And because there was sometimes reason to suspect that 
slaves ran away for want of sufficient allowance of provisions, 
any two justices of the peace might inquire whether slaves 
throughout the several plantations were sufficiently provided 
with corn or other provisions, and were to inform the justices 
of the courts of the province of any cases in which the slaves 
were not sufficiently provided for, in which cases the owners 
were to be lined. 

Xo master was liable to any penalty if his negro or other 
slave suffered in life or member under punishment by him or 
his order for running away, or other crimes or misdemeanors; 
but if any person should, out of cruelty or willfully, kill a negro 
or other slave of his own he was lined £~>Q. If the person so 
offending was a servant, or one incapable of making satisfac- 
tion, he was to receive thirty nine lashes on his bare back. A 
uegro found stealing or robbing, and resisting or refusing to 
submit, might be killed. 

Such were the main features of the slave code as revised 
and adopted in South Carolina under the Royal Government. 
However harsh they may appear to the read/*- f the present 
day, it must be remembered that the penal codes under which 
white men then lived in England and elsewhere were scarcely 
less so. Grauting the subordination of slavery, the prohibi- 
tion of slaves going beyond the limits of their master's planta- 
tions was no more than that applied to soldiers and sailors, 
wdiose liberties did not extend beyond the camp barrack or 
ship; so, too. in regard to the provision as to a slave striking 
a white man. "Is the soldier who lights the battles of his 
country and lifts his hand against his commanding officer,*' it 
was asked, '• more criminal or punished with less severity than 
the audacious slave who strikes his master.' Is the gallant 
sailor who upholds the nation's glory and protects it by his 
valor and prowess subject to a milder punishment if, in a 
moment of unguarded resentment, he should strike the officer 
whose orders he is bound to obey! Xo! an ignominious death 
awaits the rash offender, his former services are forgotten, and 
he is consigned to a premature grave for his temerity, while 
the slave lives to repeat his crime and exult in his audacity." 1 



'The History of Barbadoes (Poyer), p. 138. 

* 



.SLAVERY IN 'SOUTH CAROLINA. 651 

The scheme of the court of justices and freeholders was taken 
also from the Barbadian act. And in regard to that statute it 
was claimed that the form of trial it provided was in all 
respects competent to the regular administration of justice, 
"and candid men." it was observed, "may probably think that 
a tribunal consisting of two magistrates and three jurymen 
may be as capable of deciding justly as the military and naval 
courts-martial which are allowed to decide upon the lives of 
freemen." 1 In this connection it may be remarked in passing 
that iu the whole system of government brought over from 
Barbados, with its interwoven military organization and slave 
system, there is a strong flavor and element of martial law. 
Thus the chief executive officer of the court was not styled 
high sheriff, as Locke's constitutions proposed, but provost- 
marshal. 

In considering the measure of severity of this code it must 
be borne in mind that the punishments inflicted upon white 
men for crime in England were at that time, and, indeed, for 
a century later, not less brutal. In high crimes, as in treasons 
of all kinds, superadded to the terror and disgrace of an 
ignominious death, the offender was drawn or dragged to the 
place of execution. Iu cases of high treason the law was that 
men should be disemboweled alive, beheaded, and quartered; 
women burned. For some comparatively minor offenses the 
punishment was mutilation or dismemberment, by cutting off 
the hand or ears, as in forgery under the statutes of Elizabeth; 
for others, a lasting stigma was fixed upou the offender by 
slitting his nostrils or branding in the hand or cheek. 2 Black- 
stone laments that, among the variety of actions which men 
are daily liable to commit, no less than 160 have been declared 
by act of Parliament without benefit of clergy, or, in other 
words, to be worthy of death. 3 

The most objectionable and really dreadful feature of the 
law, undoubtedly, was the power over life and death of the 
slave, which was virtually in the masters hands. But this was 
in a great measure neutralized and controlled by the master's 
interest. To kill or injure his slave, whether punished or 
exculpated by the law. was to impose upon himself a pecuniary 



1 The History of Barbadoes (Poyer), p. 140. 

- Blackstoue, Vol. IV, p. 247 (Sliarswood edition). 

3 Ibid., p. 19. 



652 VMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION". 

fine to the extent of the value of the slave. The effective 
motive <>f interest came in to the protection of the negro's lite. 
It has been pointed <>ur tliar in Barbados, under the same 
law. where the population consisted of 75,000 blacks and 15,000 
whites, homicide among the whites, though of rare occurrence 
and punished in the same exemplary manner as at the old 
Bailey, was of more frequent occurrence than the murder of a 
slave by a freeman. In a period of thirty tour years there had 
been no authentic accounts of more than sixteen negroes killed 
by white men, and of these only six came within the legal 
description of that species of homicide which even the English 
criminal judicature would punish with death. Lord Seaforth 
during his administration (1801) instituted a minute inquiry 
into offenses of this sort, and though lie employed no ordinary 
degree of industry in pursuing the inquisition, three instances 
of extreme cruelty were all that lie could ascertain to have 
been committed for several years.' 

Xo such investigation was made in South Carolina, but 
Ilewatt. the historian, who was pastor of the Scotch Presby- 
terian Church in Charleston fr 170:5 to 1770 and who was not 

blinded to the evils of slavery as they existed in his time, but 
was indeed bitterly opposed to the whole institution, writes that 
it must be acknowledged that the planters of South Carolina 
treat their slaves with as much and more tenderness than 
those of any British colony where slavery exists. The work- 
ing of the same system produced like effects in Carolina as in 
Barbados The master's interest not only protected the life 
of the. slave against violence at his own hands, but extended 
to his defense from violence at the hands of others. It brought 
the powerful influence of the master to the prosecution of the 
assailants of his slaves, as well as to the concealment of his 
crimes. So great, indeed, was this influence that in 1740 it was 
found necessary to provide a penalty for concealing an accused 
slave. 2 

In the act of 1712 there was this provision, ; explicitly declar- 
ing and providing against the danger to which section ex of 
Locke's constitution, heretofore quoted, alluded, and Mas in- 
tended to guuard against: 

XXXIV. Since charity ami 1 1 1<- Christian religion which we profess 

1 History of l'.arli.uliii's (Poycr).pp. I'M, 135. 
• 7 Statutes, p. 103. 
1 Ibid., i>. 364. 



• SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 653 

obliges us to wish well to the souls of all men, and thai religion may not 
be made a pretence to alter any man's property and right, and that no 
person may neglect to baptize their negroes or slaves, or suffer them to be 
baptized for fear that thereby they should be manumitted and set free: 
Be it therefore enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be, and is 
hereby, declared lawful for any negro or Indian slave, or any other slave 
or slaves whatsoever, to receive and profess the christian faith and be 
thereinto baptized; but that, notwithstanding such slave or slaves shall 
receive and profess the christian religion and be baptized, he or they shall 
not thereby be manumitted or set free, or his or their owner, master, or 
mistress lose his or their civil right, property, and authority over such slave 
or slaves, but that the said slave or slaves with respect to his servitude 
shall remain and continue in the same state and condition that he or they 
was in before the making of this act. 

This provision was omitted from the act of 1722. The rea- 
son for its omission will he found in the opinion of Lord Chan- 
cellor Hardwicke in the case of Paint* v. Lisle? "There was 
once," he said. •' a doubt whether if they (negro slaves) were 
christened they would not become free by that act. and there 
were precautions taken in the colonies- to prevent their being 
baptized till the opinion of Lord Talbot and myself, then attor- 
ney-general and solicitor- general, was taken on that point. 
We were both of opinion that it did not at all alter their state.*' 
This doubt, which Locke had endeavored to provide against in 
his Constitutions, had prevailed to a great extent from New Eng- 
land to Carolina, and as it was interfering with the slave trade 
the merchants of London had secured the opinion of the two 
law officers of the Crown that it was groundless. This legal 
difficulty having been thus removed, Dr. Gibson, the bishop of 
Loudon, in a pastoral letter of the 19th of May, 1727, addressed 
to the masters and mistresses of families in the English plan- 
tations abroad, exhorting them to encourage and promote the 
instruction of their negroes in the Christian faith, thus dis- 
cussed the subject in its religious aspect : :! 

11. But it is further pleaded that the instruction of heathens iu the 
Christian Faith is in order to their Baptism, and that not only the Time to 
be allowed for instructing them would be an Abatement from the Profits 
of their Labor, but also that the baptizing them when instructed would 
destroy both the property which the Masters have in them as Slaves 
bought with their Money ami the Right of selling again at pleasure, and 
that the making of them Christians only makes them less diligent and 
more ungovernable. To which it may be very truly replied that Chris- 

1 Ambler's Report, p. 75. 

-Similar acts were adopted in Maryland and Virginia. — Bam-roft. Vol. II, 
ted. 1883 . ]» 27."). 
■'Lulcho's Church History, p. 108. 



654 AMERICAN EIISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

tianity and the embracing of the Gospel does uot make the least Altera- 
tion iu civil Property or in any of the Duties which belong to Civil Rela- 
tions, luit in all these LYsperN it continues Persons just in the same State 
it found them. The freedom which Christianity gives is a Freedom from 
the bondage of Sin and Satan and from the Dominion of Men's Lusts and 
Passions and inordinate Desires; hut as to their outward Condition, 
whatever that was before, whether bond or free, their being baptized 
and becoming Christians makes no manner of Change in it. As St. Paul 
has expressly told us (I Corinthians, vii, 20), where he is speaking directly 
to this very point: •' Let every man abide in (he same calling wherein he was 
culled : " and at the 1'lth verse : i - I. el every Man, wherein he in called therein 
abide with God." 

The anxieties of the Loudon merchants having been thus 
allayed and the. legal and religious doubts satisfied, the impor- 
tation of negroes into the colonies was continued with renewed 
vigor. We have mh'ai that in 1708 the number of whites and of 
negroes was almost exactly equal, viz, whites. 4,080; negroes, 
4,100. In 1715, while the white population had increased but 
to 6,250, the negroes had reached L0,500.' In seven years, 
while the whites had increased but 53 per cent, the negroes 
had increased 15n* per cent, three times as much. In A De- 
scription of Sniirli Carolina, published in 1701-' in London, 
(but which is supposed to have been the basis of Governor 
(lien's answers to the queries <>f the lords commissioners for 
trade and plantations, made probably in 1 749, 3 the number of 
white people in South Carolina, including men, women, and 
children, it is said, was about 1 1,000 in the year 17-4, and the 
number <>f slaves there at that time, reckoning men. women, 
and children, was about 32,000, mostly negroes. 4 

In the last nine years, therefore, while the whites had little 
more than doubled, the negroes had trebled. In 1733 the colo- 
nization of Georgia commenced, and the separate government 
in North Carolina having just before been established, this 
province lost inhabitants on both sides. In a memorial in 1734, 
sinned by the governor, Robert Johnson, the president of the 
council, and the speaker of the commons, transmitted to His 
Britannic Majesty, it was stated that the inhabitants of both 

1 Uildreth's History of the United States, Vol. II, p. 27X. 

- Carroll's Collections, p. '261. 

5 Documents Connected with South Carolina (Weston), p. t>3. 

1 Drayton, in his View of South Carolina, ]>. 103, gives a table of popula- 
tion in which, in 17 - _':i. the whites are put at 1 1,000, but the negroes at only 
18,000. The account given by Governor Glen shows thai Drayton's figures 
in this instance are incorrect. 



' SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 655 

Georgia and South Carolina composed a militia of only 3,500 
men, and the negroes at least 22,000, in the proportion of 3 to 
1 for all white inhabitants of South Carolina. 1 This loss of 
population by the removal of so many to the neighboring prov- 
inces was soon made up, at least so far as the negroes were 
concerned, and the apprehensions of the people became aroused 
at the great disproportion in the relative number of the two 
races. In the Gazette of April 2, 1737, a communication appears 
under the signature of " Mercator," in which it was stated that 
in four years past there had been imported 10,447 negroes, and 
in the lour years before only 5,153. To the running in debt for 
negroes, more than the planters had the means of paying for, the 
writer attributes the scarcity of money. Lie went on to say 
that if some method were not speedily taken to prevent the 
large importation of negroes it would not only increase the 
scarcity of money but also be of the most fatal consequences 
to the province. 

Another writer in the Gazette of March 9, 1738, repeats the 
warning. He writes: 

I caii not avoid observing that altlio'li a few Negroes annually imported 
into the province might be of Advantage to most People, yet such large 
importation of 2,600 or 2,800 every year is not only a loss to many, but in 
the end may prove the Ruin of the Province, as it most certainly does that 
of many industrious Planters who unwarily engage in buying more than 
they have occasion or are able to pay for. 

This writer states that until the year 1732 the common 
method of selling negroes in the province was for payment in 
rice, whereby sellers were enabled to make 10 per cent per 
annum profit by forbearance of requiring payment. The rice 
was, valued at about 37s. Gd. per hundredweight, the casks 
going for nothing. The factors were in general under no other 
contract with their employers than to remit the rice when they 
received it. But now he complains that the case is altered, the 
sales being upon a new and quite a different footing. The fac- 
tor here is bound to make good all debts and to remit two- 
thirds of the value in twelve months and the other one-third 
in two years after the day of sale. This the writer held that 
the planter could not do. He maintained that a good crop of 
rice, even at 00s. per hundredweight, was not sufficient to pay 
all the planter's debts, nor would a good crop the next year pay 
half the debts then due to the trading man in town. 



'Drayton's View of .South Carolina, p. 102; llewatt, Vol. II, p. 31. 



656 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

That tin- apprehensions of the writer as to the dangers of 
this influx of barbarous savages were not altogether groundless 
was demonstrated by the insurrection which broke out soon 
after. It was estimated that the number of negroes in the prov- 
ince at this time (1740) was t0,000 l . This outbreak had un- 
doubtedly been instigated by the Spaniards at St. Augustine. 
Liberty and protect ion had been proclaimed to them, and 
emissaries had been found secretly persuading them to fly 
from their masters to Florida. .Many had made their escape 
to that settlement. ( >f these negroes the governor of Florida 
formed a regiment, appointed officers from amoug them, and 
allowed them the same pay and clothed them in the same uui 
form with the regular Spanish soldiers. Of all this the negroes 
in Carolina were kept informed, and when they ran away they 
constantly directed their course to that quarter. 

At length, a number of negroes assembled at Stono, and 
began their movement by killing two young men iu a ware- 
house, and plundering it of guns and ammunition. Thus 
provided with arms, they chose one of their number captain, 
put themselves under his command, and marched in the direc- 
tion of Florida, with colors Hying and drums beating. They 
entered the house of Mr. Godfrey, murdered him, his wife, and 
children, took all the arms, in the house, and, setting tire to it, 
proceeded toward Jacksonboro. In their march they plun- 
dered and burned every house, killed the white people, and 
compelled the negroes to join them. 

Lieutenant Governor Lull happening to be on his way to 
Charleston, probably from Beaufort, and observing this body of 
armed negroes, quickly rode out of their way. He crossed over 
to Johns Island, and from thence came to Charleston with the 
first intelligence. Mr. Golightly, also seeing* and avoiding 
them, went directly to the Presbyterian church at Wiltown, 
and gave the alarm. By a law of the province all persons were 
required to carry their arms to church, and as it was a Sunday 
Mr. Golightly found there a body of armed men, and proceeded 
with them directly from the church to engage the negroes, 
about eight miles distant. The women were left trembling with 
fear while the militia marched in quest of the negroes, who by 
this time had become formidable from their numbers. They 



1 1 1 e w ; i r History of South Carolina, Vol.2, p. 71. Governor Glen, how- 
ever, in L74U, estimates t ho number of negroes at 39;000. 



'SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 657 

bad for fifteen miles spread desolation through all the planta- 
tions on their way. Having found rum in some houses, and 
drunk freely of it, they halted in an open field, and began to 
sing and dance. During these rejoicings the militia came up, 
and took positions to prevent escape; then advancing, and kill- 
ing some of them, the remainder of the negroes dispersed and 
tied to the woods. Many ran back to the plantations to which 
they belonged, in the hope of escaping suspicion. of having 
joined the rising, but the greater part were taken and tried. 
Such of them as had been compelled to join were pardoned; the 
leaders suffered death. 1 Twenty-one whites and 44 negroes 
lost their lives in this insurrection. 

The slave code had been revised in 1735.- This insurrection 
led to another thorough revision in 1740. 3 but to the honor of 
the province be it said that, so far from this rising of the 
negroes adding to the severities of the law, it was made the 
occasion of ameliorating the condition of the slave. More 
stringent provisions were made against the assembling of 
slaves and provisions against insurrections, but in the main 
the amendments to the code were in the negro's favor. 

A penalty of £5 currency was imposed upon any person who 
employed any slave in any work or labor (work of necessary 
occasions of the family only excepted) on the Lord's day, 
commonly called Sunday. The selling of strong liquor to 
slaves was prohibited. Slaves were to be provided with suffi- 
cient clothing, covering, and food; and in case any owner or 
person in charge of slaves neglected to make such provision, 
any neighboring justice, upon complaint, was required to in- 
quire into the matter, and if the owner or person in charge 
failed to exculpate himself from the charge, the justice might 
make such orders for the relief of the slave as in his discretion 
he should think fit. 

And because, it was said, by reason of the extent and dis- 
tance of plantations in the province the inhabitants were far 
removed from each other, and many cruelties might be com- 
mitted on slaves, it was provided that if any slave should 
suffer in life or limb, or be beaten or abused contrary to the 
direction of this act, when no white person was present, or, 
being present, refused to give evidence, the owner or person in 

1 Ramsay, History of South Carolina, Vol. 1.]). 100. 
-7 Statutes, S.C.,p. 385. 

3 ibid., p. :;;»:. 
14. Doc. 201 42 



658 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

charge of .such slave should be deemed to be guilty of the 
offense, unless he made the contrary appear by good aud suf- 
ficient evidence, or by his own oath clear and exculpate him- 
self. This oath was to prevail if clear proof of the offense 
was not made by at least two witnesses. In case of cruelty 
to a slave, in the absence of white witnesses the burden of 
proof of innocence was thrown upon the party charged; and 
while his own oath might exculpate him unless two witnesses 
appeared against him, it was something at least that the owner 
was called upon to show his innocence. By this act, also, the 
apparel of the slave was regulated, as were also the hours of 
labor. Owners were prohibited from working slaves more 
than fifteen hours in twenty-four from the 25th of March to the 
25th of September or more than fourteen hours in twenty- 
four from the 25th of September to the 25th of March. 

The slave code, as revised in 1740, remained substantially 
the law in regard to slavery during the continuance of the 
institution in South Carolina for our hundred and twenty years 
after, and its provisions in regard to the killing of negroes 
were repeatedly enforced. It was, however, so amended in 
1821 as to provide that if anyone should murder a slave he 
should suffer death without the benefit of clergy; and if any- 
one should kill a slave in sudden heat and passion, he should 
be fiued not exceeding $500 aud be imprisoned not exceeding 
six months. It happened that immediately before the passage 
of the act — very probably the cause of its passage — a negro 
who had run away was killed by his master, and in his defense 
the plea was made that he could not be tried under the new act, 
aud that the new act repealed the old. But the court of appeals 
held that while the new act could not apply to his case as ex 
post facto, he could not thus escape, and punished him under the 
act of 1740. 1 As late as 1853 two white men we convicted and 
executed under the provisions of the acts of 1740 and 1821 for 
killing a negro whose identity was not established, but who, 
under the act of 1740, was presumed to have been a slave. 

In this case the judge who both tried the case and pro- 
nounced the opinion of the highest court upon appeal stated 
that no eye-witness had testified to the killing, and the muti- 
lated remains when discovered ottered no means of recognition. 2 



1 State v. Taylor, 1 McCortl, p. !*;{. State ». Guy Raines, 3 McCord's 
Reports, p. 542. 

- Kichardnou's Law Report*, Vol. VII, p. 'J-l. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 659 

The meii accused were nevertheless convicted and executed, 
the governor at the time ordering out a strong military force 
to escort the sheriff with the condemned men from Charleston, 
where they had been imprisoned for safekeeping, to Walter- 
boro. the place of execution. 

The negro insurrection of 1740 had, however, naturally 
increased the apprehensions of danger from this source, and 
the disastrous tire of the same year had added the fear of 
incendiarism to others. In this condition of the public mind 
a dwelling house of Mr. Snowden was set on tire by a negro 
man. Upon the evidence of his accomplice and upon his own 
confession he was publicly burned to death on the 14f.h of 
August, 1741. ' But it must be observed that this awful pun- 
ishment was not inflicted under any provision of the slave 
code, but under the ancient law of England, imposed as a kind 
of lex talioni.s under the statute of Edward l. 2 Chief Justice 
Trott, in a charge to the grand jury in 170S, in explaining the 
different offenses and their punishments, had told them that 
''burners of houses, by the civil law. were to be burned;" and 
so they were anciently by the common law of England, as 
appears by Bracton. In J70.5 a white woman was convicted 
of poisoning her husband, with two men as her accomplices, 
and Trott sentenced the men to be hanged and the woman to 
be burned/ We have no record, however, of the execution of 
the sentence. 4 

Having thoroughly revised the slave code, the assembly 
made another attempt to check the further importation of 
negroes. An act was passed 5 reciting that the importation of 
negroes from the coast of Africa, as they were generally of a 
barbarous and savage disposition, was dangerous to the peace 
and safety of the province, and that to prevent these fatal mis- 
chiefs for the future it was necessary that a method should be 



1 South Carolina Gazette, August 15, 1741. 

3 Blackstouc Vol. IV. 222. 

3 MSS. Charges of Chief Justice Trott. Charlestou Library. 

4 It was at least a curious coincidence, if indeed it was not really the 
suggestion of the burning in ( harlestown, that in the South Carolina 
Gazette of July 30, 1741. there is a letter giving an account of incendiary 
fires in New Jersery, ami an insurrection of negroes in New York, attributed 
like that in South Carolina, to Spanish instigation, in consequence of which 
two negro men were burned at the stake in New York at one time, and 
seven at another. 

•3 Statutes, S. C, p. 556. 



660 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

established by which a proportional number of white inhabi- 
tants should be introduced, By this act a tax was imposed on 
the purchase of negroes according to their height; a tax of £10 

was laid, to be paid by every person who in fifteen months after 
its passage first purchased any negro of 4 feet 2 inches high 
that had not been six months before in the province, and £o 
for every such negro under that height and above 3 feet 2 
inches, aiul all under that height, £2 10s.; and after fifteen 
months from the term of three years next ensuing, £100 for 
every negro over -t feet 2 inches, and £50 for every one under 
that height and above 3 feet 2 inches; and for all under, £25. 
The sums raised from this tax were to be appropriated for 
defraying the charge of transportation of poor protectants from 
Charlestown to tin' place of settlement and for purchasing 
tools necessary for planting and settling, with provisions for one 
year, each poor Protestant (not being above 50 years of age) 
who would come and settle in the province, and for purchasing 
one cow and calf over and above such provisions for every five 
persons who should actually become settled in any of the town- 
ships laid out, or in any other of the frontier places in the prov- 
ince in which such poor Protestant might be directed by the 
governor to settle. Besides the tax upon the first purchaser, the 
slaves themselves imported were taxed £50 additional. This 
measure was intended to act as a prohibition, and it did so. 



To the honor of the Society for the Propagation of the Gos- 
pel, writes I lewatt, it must be acknowledged that they had made 
some attempts for the conversion of these heathen. They had 
no less than twelve missionaries in Carolina, who had instruc- 
tions to give all the assistance in their power to this laudable 
purpose, and to each of them they allowed £50 in the year over 
and above their provincial salaries. But it was well known, 
he adds, that the fruit of their labors had been very small and 
inconsiderable. Such feeble exertions were noways equal to 
the extent of the work required, nor to the greatness of the end 
proposed. Whether their small success ought to be ascribed 
to the rude and intractable dispositions of the negroes, to the 
obstructions thrown in their way by the owners, or to the negli- 
gence and indolence of the missionaries themselves he does 
not undertake to determine. Perhaps, he ventures to assert, »t 
was more or less owing to all these different causes. One thing, 



"SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 661 

he observes, was very certain, that the negroes of the country, 
a few only excepted, were, when lie wrote, as great strangers to 
Christianity and as much under the influence of pagan dark- 
ness, idolatry, and superstition as they were on their first 
arrival from Africa. 

The Rev. Samuel Thomas was the first missionary sent out 
by the society. He ministered from 1702 to 1706 at Goose 
Creek, which he described as one of the largest and most pop- 
ulous country towns, and settled by English families well 
affected to the church, lie reported to the society that though 
his communicants were but five, they soon increased to thirty- 
two, and that he had taken much pains also in instructing 
negroes, and had taught twenty of them to read. 1 He was 
succeeded by the Rev. Dr. Le Jeau, who wrote that the parents 
ami masters were indued with much good will to have their 
children and servants taught the Christian religion. He in- 
structed and baptized many negroes and Indian slaves. 2 The 
Rev. Mr. Taylor, missionary in St. Andrews' parish, wrote to 
the society (1713) that Mr. Haig and Mr. Edwards had taken 
extraordinary pains to instruct a considerable number of 
negroes in the principles of the Christian religion and to 
reclaim and reform them. The wonderful success they met 
with in about half a year's time encouraged him to examine 
these negroes about their knowledge of Christianity. 

They declared to him their faith in the chief articles of reli- 
gion, which they sufficiently explained: they rehearsed by 
heart very distinctly the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and 
the Lord's Prayer. Fourteen of them gave him so great satis- 
faction and were so desirous to be bapti/jrd that he thought it 
his duty to do it on the last Lord's day. Mr. Taylor was never- 
theless very severe upon his parishioners generally. u If the 
masters were but Christians themselves,'' he wrote, "and 
would but concur with the ministers, we should then have good 
hopes of the conversion and salvation of at least some of their 
negro and Indian slaves. But too many of them rather op- 
pose than concur with us. and are angry with us, 1 may say 
with me, for endeavoring as much as I do the conversion of 
their slaves." :; Humphreys, however, mentions that there 



'Humphreys' Historical Account of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel, ]>. 82. 
a Ibid., pp. 83,8-1. 
'■' Diyent of S. P. G. Records, 1701-1892. 15, 16. 



662 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

had been "contentious disputes at first, and afterwards an 
unhappy distaste between him and his parishioners," and 
observes that his successor, Mr. Guy, •• made amends by his 
prudence and courteous demeanor for the disobliging conduct of 

his predecessor." l Mr. Taylor's own conduct may have been 
the cause of some of the opposition to his ministrations of 
which he complained. The Eev. Mr. Varnod reported to the 
society that he had, a year after his arrival (1723), 50 communi- 
cants, among whom were 17 negroes, and baptized several 
grown persons, besides children and negroes belonging to Mr. 
Alex. Skeene, and in 1733 that out of 31 communicants of his 
parish 19 were negroes. 3 

Mr. John Morris, of St. Bartholomew's; Lady Moore, Capt. 
David Davis, Mrs. Sarah Baker, and several others, of Goose 
Creek; Landgrave Joseph Morton and his wife, of St. Paul's; 
Mr. and Mrs. Skeene, Mrs. Haig, and Mrs. Edwards and the 
governor (liobert Gibbes) are recorded as those who were 
most zealous, in 1711, in encouraging the instruction of their 
slaves. 3 



Neither the church nor' the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel entertained any scruples as to the institution of 
slavery. The church act of 1704 anticipated that the society 
would give negro slaves as part of the endowment of the par- 
ishes, and it provided that the negroes so given were to be a 
part of the glebe/ The society itself accepted a devise by 
General Codrington,' in 1710, of two valuable plantations in 
Barbados upon the condition that these plantations should be 
kept entire with at least 300 negroes upon them, the produce of 
which was to be allotted to maintain a convenient number of 
professors and scholars, under vows of chastity and obedience, 
who were required to study and practice physic and surgery as 
well as divinity, that they might endear themselves to the 
people and have the opportunity of doing good to men's souls 
while they were taking care of their bodies. 



1 Humphreys' Historical Account of the Society for the Propagation ot 
the Gospel, p. 112; Dalcho'a Church History, p. 387. 
8 Ibid., p. 117; Dalcho's Church History, pp. 310, 317. 
:l Digest „f g. p. (t. Records, 701-1892, p. 115. 
< 2 Statutes, S. C, p. 239. 



"SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 6()3 

The venerable society, says Bryan Edwards, 1 found them 
selves under the disagreeable necessity not only of supporting 
the system of slavery which was bequeathed to them with the 
land, but were induced also, from the purest and best of 
motives, to purchase occasionally a certain number of negroes 
11 to keep up the stock." But the Society went a step further 
in Carolina and a considerable step further. It not only ac- 
cepted, as we shall see directly, a devise of negroes to work 
upon a plantation, and purchased others to keep up the stock, 
to support its missionaries, but it fell upon the singular plan 
of purchasing negroes to educate and devote as slaves to the 
purpose of educating other negro slaves. 

We hud an advertisement by tlie Rev. Alexander Garden, the 
Commissary of the Bishop of London, in the South Carolina 
Gazette of March 11, 1743, stating that the Society for the 
Propagation of the Gospel, having long had much at heart the 
propagation of the gospel among the negroes and Indian 
slaves in His Majesty's colonies in America, had resolved on 
the following method of pursuing that end, viz, by purchas- 
ing some country-born young negroes, causing them to be 
instructed to read the Bible and in the chief precepts of the 
Christian religion, and thenceforth employing them (under the 
direction of proper trustees) as schoolmasters for the same 
instruction of all negro and Indian children as might be born 
in the colonies. 

The advertisement goes on to state that in pursuance of this 
plan the society had purchased, about fifteen months before, 
two such negroes for this service, and appropriated one of them 
for-Charlestown, who would be sufficiently qualified in a few 
months, and to whom all the negro and Indian children of the 
parish might be sent for education without any charge to the 
masters and owners; and the Commissary concludes with an 
appeal for a voluntary contribution of £400 currency to build 
a schoolhouse for the purpose, which he consents should be 
put up in a corner of the glebe land, near the parsonage. 

This appeal was answered, and in the Gazette of April 2, 
1744, Dr. Garden publishes an account of receipts and expend- 
itures, in which it appears that he had received contributions 
to the amount of £220. Among the contributors were Hon. 
Charles Pinckney, Joseph Wragg, Robert Pringle, Jacob Motte, 
Col. Otheneil Beale, Benjamin Smith, and Sarah Trott. 



Edwards, History of West Indies, Index, Vol. II, p, 35. 



G64 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 






The two negro boys so purchased received the baptismal 
names of Henry and Andrew. The school was established 
and the experiment tried in the hope that the negroes would 
receive instructions from teachers of their own race with more 
facility and willingness than from white teachers. The school 
was continued for twenty two years, first under the supervision 
of Commissary Garden as rector of St. Philip's, then of his 
successor, the Rev. Mr. Clarke, and then of the Rev. Robert 
Smith, afterwards the first bishop of South Carolina. 

The Rev. Mr. Commissary Garden wrote to the Society Octo- 
ber 10, L74:*>, that the negro school in Charlestown was likely 
to succeed and consisted of 30 children. He further informed 
them that he intended to employ both the negro youths in 
teaching in this school until their services should be wanted 
for similar institutions in the country parishes. He was of 
opinion that thirty or forty children would annually be dis- 
charged, capable of reading the scriptures and sufficiently 
instructed in the chief principles of the Christian religion. In 
consequence of this favorable information the Society sent to 
the school a large quantity of Bibles, Testaments, Common 
Prayer books, and spelling books. 

In 17 14 upward of tit) children were instructed in it daily, 18 
of whom read in the Testament, 20 in the Psalter, and the rest 
in the spelling book.' En 1746 there were 53 children under 
tuition and l."> adults were instructed in the evening.- in 1755 
there were 70 children in the school, and books were given for 
their use. 1 In 17.">7 Mr. Clarke informed the society that the 
negro school in Charleston was flourishing and full of children, 
and from the success of the institution he lamented a the 
want of civil establishments" in the province for the Christian 
instruction of 50,000 negroes. 4 Reverend Mr. Smith exam- 
ined the proficiency of the children twice a week, and the school 
was deemed in a flourishing condition. Put Andrew, one of 
the teachers, died, and the other, Harry, "turned out profli- 
gate;" and as the society had not invested to any greater 
extent in slaves "to keep up the stock*' for the purpose of 
education, they had no other black or colored persons to take 
charge of the school, and it was discontinued.'' It is not so 
mentioned, but the education of these negro children must 
have been restricted to reading, as they were prohibited by 
law from being taught to write. 



' Dalcbo's ( Jhurch History, pp. 156, 157. : Ibid., p. 158. 

3 Ibid., p. 174. 'Ibid., p. 178. B Ibid., p. 193. 



• SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 6G5 

But the purchase of negro slaves for devotion to pious and 
religious purposes was not confined to the Society for the Propa- 
gation of the Gospel. The Rev. George Whitefield and Mr. 
James Habersham, who together had established the Bethesda 
Orphan House in Georgia, were mainly instrumental in bring- 
ing the trustees of the colony to relax their prohibition against 
the introduction of slavery in that province. Mr. Whitefield, 
as early as 1741, gave the trustees a most practical lesson in his 
views by planting a portion of laud, which he called •• Provi- 
dence," with negro labor, bought and paid for as his own slaves, 
with the design of thereby supporting his orphan house at 
Bethesda. He writes, under date of March 15, 1747: 

I last week bought at a very cheap rate a plantation of tvlO aeres of ex- 
cellent laud, ■with a good house, farm, and outhouses and 60 acres of ground 
cleared, fenced, and lit for rice and everything that will be necessary for 
provisions. One negro has been given nie: some more I propose to pur- 
chase this week. 

And again, in .lune of the same year, he says: 

God is delivering me out of my embarrassments by degrees. With the 
collections made at Charlestown 1 have purchased a plantation and some 
slaves, which I intend to devote to the use of Bethesda. 

On the 6th of December, 1718, he complains to the trustees 
that very little proficiency had been made in the cultivation 
of his tract, and that entirely owing to the necessity he was 
under of making use of white hands. He writes: 

Had a negro been allowed I should have had a sufficiency to support 
a great many orphans without expending about half the sum which has 
been laid out. An unwillingness to let so good a design drop, and having 
a rational conviction that it must necessarily if some other method was 
not fixed upon to prevent it — those two considerations, honored gentle- 
men, prevailed upon me about two years ago. through the bounty of my 
friends, to purchase a plantation in South Carolina, where negroes are 
allowed. Blessed be God, the plantation has succeeded, and though at 
present I have only eight working hands, yet in all probability then- will 
be more raised in one year, and with a quarter the expense, than has 
been produced at Bethesda for several years last past. This confirms me 
in the opinion I have entertained for a long time (hat Georgia never can 
or tcill be a flourishing 2>rovinct icithoul negroes ore allowed. 1 



Thus it was that the Church of England and the evangelist 
V\ hitefield not only countenanced the system of slavery, but 



'History of Georgia (Stevens), pp. 308-310. 



666 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

actually participated in its maintenance. We have already 
seen tli.it the Bishop of Loudon, in his zeal tor the conversion 
of the negroes, assured their masters of the rightfulness of the 
institution, and enjoined upon the negroes to submit to its 
bondage as ordained of (rod, explaining that baptism was no 
means of freedom in this world, but only of salvation in the 
next. All this, of course, tended to strengthen its hold upon 
the people, whose apprehensions in regard to the increasing 
number of negroes were inducing them to check its growth. 
But even in this effort they were thwarted by the action of the 
royal Government. 

Governor (lien wrote to the lords of trade in 1749 that 
though the law passed in the province (Statutes of 1740) lay- 
ing a heavy duty on negroes imported, which amounted to a 
prohibition, had expired for some time, and though the impor- 
tation had since been prevented by the war then raging in 
Europe, he did not think that their numbers had diminished, 
but on the contrary, though it was then upward of nine years 
since the law had been passed. 1 The act of 1740 having ex- 
pired in 1751, and the peace of Aix la Chappelle having been 
proclaimed and the slave trade again opened, a new duty :>f 
CKt was laid on each imported slave of the height of 1 feet 2 
inches, and proportionately for those under that height. This 
act was by its terms to continue in force for the term of ten 
years. 2 

The province of Virginia had pursued the same policy and 
had endeavored to suppress the importation of negroes. The 
merchants of London took alarm at this conduct of the south- 
ern colonics. One, signing himself "A British Merchant,'" in 
1715 published a paper, which he entitled k 'The African Slave 
Trade, the (ireat Pillar and Support of the British Plantations 
in America." New England rum, manufactured at Xewport, 
was profitably exchanged on the coast of Africa for negroes 
to be sold in the southern colonies, and vessels sailed on this 
business from Boston and Xew York; but the trade was prin- 
cipally carried on by English merchants of Bristol and Liver- 
pool, (/barters for the exclusive privilege of carrying on the 
slave trade had been granted to merchants from London in 
1618 under the reign of James I; in 1631 under that of Charles 



1 Documents connected with South Carolina (Western), p. 1)2. 
-;{ Statutes. S. C, p. 739. 



. SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 067 

I j in 16G2 under Charles II to a company of which the Duke 
of York, the King's brother, was at the head; and in 1672 to 
another in which not only the King's brother, but the King 
himself was a stockholder. 

The revolution of 1088 abolished all exclusive charters, and 
in 1G98 the trade to the coast of Africa was, by act of Parlia- 
ment, made bee to all persons. This act operating hardly, as it 
was regarded, upon the "Royal African Company," Parliament 
voted them annually, from 1739 to 1740, £10.000. But while 
the monopoly of the company was destroyed, the monopoly of 
British subjects in furnishing slaves to the British colonies was 
strictly secured. Ten judges, among whom were Holt and Pol- 
lexfen, declared that "negroes are merchandise," and hence 
within the navigation acts."' 1 

It was not to be supposed that the lords of trade and plan- 
tations would bfe deaf to the remonstrances of the merchants 
of London against the suppression of so valuable a trade; and 
so we find that when Governor Littleton came out in 1756 he 
brought with him instructions to put a stop to this colonial 
interference with the legitimate business of English merchants 
and skippers. Their lordships, in the name of the King, 
directed : - 

Whereas acts have been passed in some of our plantations of America for 
laying duties ou the importation and exportation of negroes, to the great 
discouragement of the merchants trading thither from the coast of Africa; 
and whereas acts have likewise heen passed fur laying duties ou felons 
imported, in direct opposition to the act of Parliament passed in the tenth 
year of his late Majesty our royal grand father's reign for the further pre- 
venting robbery and burglary and other felonies and the more effectual 
transportation of felons, etc. : It is our said pleasure that you do not give 
yoiy: assent to or p;iss any law imposing duties on negroes imported into 
our said Province of South Carolina payable by the importers or upon any 
slaves exported that have not been sold in our said province and continued 
there for the space of twelve months. It is our further wish that you do 
not give assent to or pass any act whatsoever for imposing duties on the 
importation of any felons from this Kingdom into South Carolina. 

These instructions were repeated to Governor Boone when 
he was commissioned in 17G1. 3 The general-duty act of the 
province, as it was called, of 1751, by which duties were laid 
on all imported negroes for ten years, expired just before Gov- 



1 Cobb on Slavery, p. cxliv. Bancroft's History of the United States, 
Vol. II, p. 279. 

-Public Records, Columbia, S. C, Vol. XXVI, p. 291. 
3 lbid., Vol. XXIX, p. 147. 



668 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

ernor Boone's arrival. No renewal of such duties was made 
during his administration, but immediately upon bis leaving 
the province, in 1764, an act was passed reciting: 

Whereas an importation of negroes equal in number to what has been 
imported of Late years may prove of the most dangerous consequence in 

many respects to this province, and the best way to obviate such danger 
will l>e by imposing such additional duty upon them as may totally pre- 
vent the evils, we therefore} humbly pray his most sacred Majesty that it 
may he enacted, etc., that an additional duty of £ 100 current money might 
he imposed on every person first purchasing any negro or other slave 
imported into the province except those brought from any other colony in 
America by persons actually to reside in the province. 1 

The act was not to go into effect until the 1st of January, 
17<i»», and was to continue in force for a term of three years. 
It was assented to by Lieutenant-Governor Bull, as by its 
terms it was not to be in operation before the Government in 
England could pass upon it. it was allowed by the Board of 
Trade, and went into effect, but was not renewed. The result 
was that upon its expiration there was another influx of slaves. 

During the discussion of the nonimportation agreement the 
Gazette of July G, 1769, stated that upon an examination of the 
imports from the year 17r>(» to 1 T* »*» it appeared that 23,743 
negroes were brought into the province during that period, 
the medium of which was 2,371 a year; but if the last of those 
years were taken oil*, when (5,701 were poured into the province, 
in anticipation of the high duty which was to take place the 
year following, and which did then put an entire stop to the 
importation till January L7G0, the medium was 1,81)4. " From 
the 1st of January last,"' continued the Gazette, '"to the 1st of 
July, uo less than 1,233 had been imported, and many more 
were expected before the close of the year." The Gazette 
observes, in italicized lines: 

Thin scarcely needs comment; every man's oion mind must suygext the con- 
sequences of such i nor mo us importation, especially at this time. 

This suggestion was acted upon, and the nonimportation 
agreement then in force was, on the -I'd of July, enlarged so 
as to read : 

IV. That from and after the 1st day of January, 1770, we will not import, 
buy, or sell any negroes that shall he hrought in the province from Africa ; 
nor after the 1st day of October next any negroes that shall he imported 
from the West Indies or any other place excepting Africa aforesaid. And 



'4 Statutes, S. ('., pp. 187, 188. 



.SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 66V 

if any such negroes or goods shall be Kent to us contrary to the agreement 
in the subscription such goods shall be reshipped or stored .'ind such negroes 
re°hipped from the province, and not by any means otVered for sale therein. 1 

There was a double motive, doubtless, in this resolve. The 
inhabitants, alarmed at the increasing number of negroes, were 
ready to avail themselves of the opportunity of putting a stop 
to their importation, which had been forbidden by the Govern- 
ment in England. But while this motive was no doubt effica- 
cious in the adoption of the resolution, the fact that this was a 
means of touching the pocket nerve 1 of the British merchant 
in its most sensitive point was probably a still greater induce- 
ment to its passage. 

This the Board of Trade was likely to appreciate, for on the 
Oth of December, 1669, Lieutenant-Governor Bull had written 
to the Earl of Hillsborough, His Majesty's principal secretary 
of state for the colonies, that since the 1st of January, at 
which time the late prohibition had expired, 5,438 negroes had 
been imported, which, being mostly adults for immediate use, 
sold upon an average of nearly £40 each. 2 

The Gazette, which carried on its war against the importa- 
tion of negroes after the nonimportation agreement had fallen 
through, on May 31 states that the greatest number imported 
before in one year Mas 7,184 in 176o, which it says is 4,457 less 
than have arrived the present year. In 1773 therefore the im- 
portation had reached $ie figure 11,641. The next greatest 
numbers imported in a year, it says, were 4,865 in 1772, 4,612 
in 1769, and 3,740 in 1760. The whole number of slaves im- 
ported from the 1st of January, 1753. to the 1st of January, 
1773, it states to have been 43,695. 

It was because, of the climatic differences between New York 
and South Carolina, observes Bancroft, that one ceased to be, 
while the otht.r remained a slave State. It turned out ulti. 
mately to have been the misfortune of South Carolina not only 
that her climate suited the negro race, but that rice, an article 
of food for foreign commerce, as well as houie consumption, 
was found capable of production by negro labor at great profit — 
and that too in portions of her territory in which the white 
man could not continuously live. This at once made Charles- 
town an emporium of the trade, which the English merchants 



1 South Carolina Gazette. Sec also South Carolina American and Gen- 
eral i iazette of same date. 

•Public Records, Columbia. S. C. 



670 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

were so vigorously prosecuting under the protection of the 
British Government. 

The celebrated '• Somerset" or "The Negro Case," as it was 
called, was decided by Lord Mansfield and the court of King's 
bench with great reluctance in 1771.' His lordship endeav- 
ored to avoid a decision, holding the case over in the hope that 
some arrangement might be come to by which he might be 
relieved of the responsibility. i; If the parties will have judg- 
ment/' said his lordship at last, "fiat justitia mat ccelum, let 
justice be done whatever be the consequences. Fifty pounds 
a head may not be a high price: then a loss follows of above 
£700, (KM),"' etc. It is probable, however, that meanwhile many 
of the slaves had been spirited out of the kingdom pending 
the decision. This decision put an end to the holding of slaves 
in bondage in England, but it did nothing more. It did not 
in the least relieve the mother country of the responsibility of 
slavery in the colonies. It was admitted in that case that by 
the laws of the British-American colonies slavery existed, and 
was recognized by the laws of England as so existing. "The 
question before the court," said Lord Mansfield, "was whether 
any dominion, authority, or coercion can be exercised in this 
country [England] on a slave according to the American laws." 
The difficulty of adopting the relation without adopting it in all 
its consequences, his lordship admitted, was extreme. But, in 
delivering the opinion of the court, slavery, he declared, was of 
such a nature — was so odious — that nothing could be suffered 
to support it but positive law. Whatever inconvenience, there- 
fore, might follow from the decision, he could not say that 
slavery was allowed or approved by the law of England, and 
therefore the black must be discharged. 

This case was heard and decided by the King's bench alone, 
and was not argued before all the judges, as was usual in 
habeas corpus cases, nor was it taken to the House of Lords, 
the supreme court of judicature of the Kingdom. It was, how- 
ever, acquiesced in by the nation, and has since been regarded 
as the law of the land. It was, nevertheless, a most extraordi- 
nary decision, in view of the well-known historical facts and 
previous decisions of the courts of England. 

The bald question was whether slavery could be recognized 
to exist under the same government in the colonies and not in 



1 -'The Negro Case,"" State Trials. Vol. XX, pp. 1-S2. 



- SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. G71 

England itself. It was the fundamental law of all the colonies 
tbat their laws should not be repugnant nor contrary to the 
laws of England. This was expressly prescribed in all their 
charters. If, therefore, slavery was repugnant or contrary to 
the laws of England, it could not exist in the colonies. So 
plain is this proposition that Hildreth, the historian, has ad- 
duced the result that slavery was never legal in the colonies 
themselves. 1 This is logical: but to such logical conclusion 
the courts of England refused to go. This was the difficulty 
to which Lord Mansfield alluded and declared extreme in the 
way of adopting the course he did without adopting all of its 
consequences. There can be little doubt that, had the alterna- 
tive been pressed upon the court of King's bench — that its 
decision must revoke slavery in the colonies as well as in Eng- 
land — Somerset would never have been declared free. 

The merchants and manufacturers in England clamored for 
protection to the slave trade, which opened to them the African 
market. Parliament, by repeated declarations and statutes, 
had declared the trade lawful, beneficial, and advantageous to 
the Kingdom and the colonies. 2 The entire number of slaves 
exported from Africa prior to 1770 Avas, at the lowest estima- 
tion, 3,2.">0,000. More than <6ne half of these were carried in 
English ships, and the profits of the traffic to English mer- 
chants is reported to have been at least $400,000,000. In the 
vear 1771. the verv year in which the Somerset decision was 
made, there sailed from England alone 11*2 ships, provided for 
the exportation of 17,110 slaves. 3 Eo government could have 
stood which declared against this trade. 

We have seen that two of the greatest lawyers of England, 
Talbot and Yorke, both afterwards lord chancellors, the latter 
celebrated as Lord Hardwickc, had given their opinions when 
attorney and solicitor general, respectively, maintaining the 
legality of the institution of slavery and protecting it against 
the apprehended effect of Christian baptism. Chief Justice 
Holt, it is true, is reported to have held in 1702 "that as soon 
as a negro comes into England he becomes free." 14 But, as 



1 Hildreth's History of the United Stales. Vol. II. p. 27. r i. 

-Bancroft (edition 1883,), Vol. II. p. 27s. 
('olib on Slavery, p. cliv, citing 3d Bancroft, pp. 411-412 ; Edwards' West 
Indies, Vol. II. p. SO; Copley's History of Slavery, p. 114. 

4 Smith i\ Brown and Cooper, 2 Lord Raymond's Reports, i>. 1271 : 2 Sal- 
keld, p. 666. 



672 AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION. 

Lord Chancellor Flarclwieke pointed oul in Peame v. Lislie. 
before cited, that was a mere obiter dictum, if the report of the 
case was correct, for the question before the court was one 
merely of pleading. The assertion, if made by Holt, was 
against the fact, if not against the law. for at that time large 
numbers of liegro slaves Avere held in subjection in the British 
Isles without question as to the master's title. At one time 
the uegro page was indispensable to the English lady on her 
daily walks through the city thoroughfares; and for fear "the 
pure air of Britain" might engender some ideas of liberty, the 
collar known to the Roman slave was fastened around his neck, 
with the name and residence of his mistress neatly engraved 
thereon.' At the time of the decision of the "Somerset case,*' 
1771, it was estimated that there were 1 1,000 or 15,000 negro 
slaves held in England, and it was to allow their masters an 
opportunity of getting these out of his jurisdiction that Lord 
Mansfield withheld his decision.-' 

The case of Smith v. Brown awl Cooper, in which Holt is 
reported to have made the famous declaration, is reported in 
the law books, upon reference to which it appears that the 
question argued before the court was one of special pleading, 
namely, whether a declaration in indebitatus assumpsit would 
lie for a negro sold. And this is what was actually decided : 

•■ Holt, C. J. You should have averred in the declaration that the sale 
was in Virginia, and by the laws of that country negroes are salable, 
for the laws of England do not extend to Virginia. Being a conquered 
country, and their law is what the King pleases, and wo can not take 
notice of it but as set forth;" therefore he directed that plaintiff should 
amend, and the declaration should be made, that the defendant was indebted 
to the plaint itf for a negro sold here at London, but that the said negro at 
the time of sale was in Virginia, and that negroes by the laws of and stat- 
utes of Virginia are salable as chattels. Then the attorney-general coming 
in, said they were inheritances, and transferable by deed, and not without; 
And — the Reporter adds — nothing was done. 

In 1 To t there was another case reported in the same books 
(Smith v. Gould) in which Chief Justice Holt is again reported 
to have said that there was no such thing as a slave by the law 
of England; that men may be owners, and can not, therefore, 
be the subject of property. But the only point decided was in 



1 Cobb on Slavery, p. cxlvi, citing London Quarterly Review, 18.">5, 
Article, "Advertising;" also Granville sharp's Just Limitation of Slavery, 
p. 34. 

-•'The Ne^ro Case.'' State Trials, Vol. XX, ]>. "!•. 



SLAVERY IN SOUTH CAROLINA. 673 

direct contradiction of that dictum, for lie held that while the 
action of u trover lies not for a negro, in trespass qnare capti- 
vum suum ccpit, plaintiffs may give in evidence that the party 
was his negro and he bought him." 

Out of decisions upon these subtle distinctions in the old 
metaphysical technical pleading of the common law has been 
evolved the celebrated saying that the air of England was too 
pure to be breathed by a slave. This is all the more curious, 
too, when it is recalled that Chief Justice Holt was one of the 
ten judges who declared that " negroes are merchandise and 
within the navigation acts." 1 

But Lord Chancellor Ilardwicke, who, as Attorney-General 
Yorke, had given the opinion in 1727 that Christian baptism did 
not release a negro from bondage, in 1740 repudiated not only 
Chief Justice Holt's obiter dictum, but his actual decision as 
well. 

"I have no doubt," he said in the case of Pearne v. Lisle, before quoted, 
"but trover -will lie. for a negro slave is as much property as any other 
thing. The ease in Salk., p. 6G6, "was determined on the want of a proper 
description. It was trover pro vno JEthiojie vocal negro "without saying 
slave, and the being negro did not necessarily imply slave. The reason 
said at the bar to hare hem given by Lord Chief Justice Holt in that case as the 
cause of his doubt, viz, that the moment a slave sets foot in England he beconus 
free, has no weight icith it, nor can ami reason be found why they should not be 
equally so when they set foot in Jamaica or any otlu r English plantation. All 
our colonics are subject to the laws of England, although, as to some purposes, 
they have laws of their own." 

Until the decision in the Somerset case slavery was thus 
recognized to exist by every branch of the Government of 
England, as well in England itself as in the colonies. It was 
so recognized by the King and his ministers, by Parliament, 
and by the courts. In that decision Lord Mansfield and his 
court of King's bench undertook to dowiiat Lord Hardwicke 
had declared could not be done — to declare one law for England 
and another for the colonies. 

The Government of England, with the sanction of the church, 
was thus forcing upon Carolina an institution which, with 
pharasaic zeal, it was declaring itself too righteous to tolerate 
at home — an institution which from its very nature must incor- 
porate itself with the political and social system of the country, 
and become so interwoven into its structure as to be eradicated 
only when in the fullness of time its continuance must end by 
revolution, war, and desolation. 



1 Bancroft, Vol. Ill, p. 41-1; Cobb on Slavery, p. cxliv, 

H. Doc. 201 43 f