Dazzling Knowledge

Friday, August 31, 2007

Irish Slaves

Disturbing post on the forgotten history of the trade of Irish slaves.

Although the Africans and Irish were housed together and were the property of
the planter owners, the Africans received much better treatment, food and
housing. In the British West Indies the planters routinely tortured white slaves
for any infraction. Owners would hang Irish slaves by their hands and set their
hands or feet afire as a means of punishment. To end this barbarity, Colonel
William Brayne wrote to English authorities in 1656 urging the importation of
Negro slaves on the grounds that, "as the planters would have to pay much more
for them, they would have an interest in preserving their lives, which was
wanting in the case of (Irish)...." many of whom, he charged, were killed by
overwork and cruel treatment. African Negroes cost generally about 20 to 50
pounds Sterling, compared to 900 pounds of cotton (about 5 pounds Sterling) for
an Irish. They were also more durable in the hot climate, and caused fewer
problems. The biggest bonus with the Africans though, was they were NOT
Catholic, and any heathen pagan was better than an Irish Papist. Irish prisoners
were commonly sentenced to a term of service, so theoretically they would
eventually be free. In practice, many of the slavers sold the Irish on the same
terms as prisoners for servitude of 7 to 10 years.

Via Isegoria.


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