Slave Trading in the Old South

Slave Trading in the Old South

Slave Trading in the Old South

Slave Trading in the Old South

Excerpt

While Rome was conquering and expanding, slaves were cheap, for the captive enemies amply supplied the demand. "But when the principal nations of Europe, Asia and Africa were united under the laws of one sovereign", says Gibbon, "the source of foreign supplies flowed with much less abundance, and the Romans were reduced to the milder but more tedious method of propagation." The prohibition of the African slave-trade after 1807 limited the future supply of slaves in the United States to virtually the natural increase. When the marvelous expansion of cotton culture caused an insatiable demand for slaves, the need and profit of slave-rearing were obvious and inevitable.

Many a prudent man of family economizes to buy safe bonds or preferred stocks, likely to rise in value, perfectly negotiable and bearing good interest. He hopes to save all the income and to keep the bonds or stocks, but they are purchased less on account of their security than because, in addition to reasonable security, they are most available for cash or as collateral, in an emergency. Slave property was considered to have these qualities, and in the South no other property, not even bonds, so readily served these ends. Where slaves and more slaves were regarded as the highest form and the most respected evidence of wealth, they were seldom reared expressly for the market, ten or fifteen years off; yet the rearing of them was deemed most important where their ordinary labor was least remunerative, as in Maryland, Virginia and Kentucky. And because the sale of at least some of them was likely--either to pay debts, to obtain money or . . .

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