To begin with, slavery was inhumane, unlawful, dreadful and senseless.
In 1776 David Hartley present a motion in the UK House of Commons stating that the slave trade was against the laws of God and the rights of men. Slaves were branded as “Chattels”, a legal term for the ownership of goods. The slave masters didn’t regard the treatment of slaves as human beings but as cargoes. A slave had no legal rights. Slaves couldn’t learn to read. Slaves could not be freed. Slavery was a profitable business. Between 1665 and 1667 a slave was sold for 25 English pounds currency, or 1 ton of sugar. 1 ton is equal to 2.240 lbs. of sugar. 25 English pounds currency was a lot of money in those days.
Slavery was one of the worst sufferings endured by the negro population over the past 400 years. Slaves were brought from Africa to harvest sugar cane and other crops on the plantations in the West Indies. The voyages were long and dangerous. A slave ship had a crew of 40 to 60 men on board. The hull or hole of the ship measured 90.8 cm x 122.6cm or 48” x 35.7”. Slaves were packed like sardines in the hull, the hole of the ship on journeys from Africa to the West Indies. Many slaves were suffocated, while others were fastened to the deck of the ship. The treatment of slaves was brutal and dreadful.
The Dutch took their independence from Spain in 1621, shortly after they formed the Dutch West Indian Company. The company went bankrupt in 1652. Between 1623 and 1650 the Dutch and French joined forces with the English to defeat the Carib Indians in St. Christopher. The Caribs were farmers and fishermen. They were also a very enterprising group of people. They were slaughtered and wiped out by the settlers over the years.
St. Christopher was the mother colony of the West Indies. Most of the other islands were settled from there. In 1781 the Dutch suffered their biggest loss in the slave trade. Admiral George Rodney and his troops operating from St. Christopher attacked the Dutch forces on Statia, capturing 250 ships, a frigate, and auctioned all the stores with munition goods on the island.
In 1791 there was a rebellion uprising on the plantations in Haiti. This sparked the uprising of slaves in the Confederated States in America. Thirteen colonies adapted the Articles of Confederation between 1820-1860 referred to as the Rogue States. Because of the uprising on the plantations in Haiti, slaves in the 13 breakaway states in America were freed. This also provides equal opportunity and prosperity for blacks in the United States today.
Piracy played a great role in the slave trade. Pirates were given fancy names such as buccaneers, privateers, pirates, envoys and missionaries. The truth is they were all bandits and criminals, robbing and stealing gold and silver, jewels and other precious items from these small islands. In 1588, 1655 and 1670 Francis Drake, John Hawkins and Henry Morgan, three vicious pirates attacked the Spanish flagship, breaking Spain’s power and prestige in the Caribbean and Europe. These men were the most feared and vicious pirates patrolling the Caribbean waters. From the flagship they took gold and silver, jewels, cargoes, crew and slaves.
Accepting apology: First of all, this is my view. Apology must be sincere and trustworthy. The person(s) apologizing must pay for retribution and crime against humanity. An oath to parliament that no form of slavery will never happen again. Slave labor on all plantations must be compensated for. All items of history, including monuments, must be return to the island.
Finally, God bless Haiti for its role and bravery during the rebellion of slaves on the plantations, and its stance for injustice for liberating slavery in 1791.
Joseph Harvey – All rights reserved