Slavery and Plantation Growth in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1860

By Julia Floyd Smith | Go to book overview
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Slave Trading

Oh, Heaven! and is there no relief This side the silent grave To soothe the pain, to quell the grief And anguish of a slave?1

A contemporary writer described the slave-trader as a "coarse, ill-bred person, provincial in speech and manners, with a cross-looking phiz, a whiskey-tinctured nose, cold hard-looking eyes, a dirty tobacco-stained mouth, and shabby dress." The trader's insensitivity made him suffer no qualms, "for although he habitually separates parent from child, brother from sister, and husband from wife, he is yet one of the jolliest dogs alive, and never evinces the least sign of remorse. . . . So soon as he has completed his 'gang' he dresses them up in good clothes, makes them comb their kinky heads into some appearance of neatness, rubs oil on their dusky faces to give them a sleek healthy color, gives them a dram occasionally to make them sprightly, and teaches each one the part he or she has to play; and then he sets out for the extreme South. . . ."2

Much of the slave trade in Florida centered in Tallahassee since this capital city was in the heart of the cotton belt. New Orleans was perhaps the largest slave market in the South.3 "Negro-traders," characters looked down upon by all, purchased slaves there "from the block" at public outcry, then proceeded with them to various

George Moses Horton, "On Liberty and Slavery", in Cavalcade, Negro American Writing from 1760 to the Present, eds. Arthur P. Davis and Saunders Redding , p. 37.
D. R. Hundley, Social Relations in Our Southern States, pp. 139-42.
Frederic Bancroft, Slave Trading in the Old South, p. 315. According to Bancroft, New Orleans was a larger market than Richmond and Charleston combined.


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