In 1562 John Hawkins, an English navigator, seeing the want of slaves in the West Indies, determined to
enter upon the piratical traffic. Several London gentlemen contributed funds liberally for the enterprise.
Three ships were provided, and with these and 100 men Hawkins sailed to the coast of Guinea, where, by
bribery, deception, treachery, and force, he procured at least 300 negroes and sold them to the Spaniards in
Hispaniola, or Santo Domingo, and returned to England with a rich freight of pearls, sugar, and ginger. The
nation was shocked by the barbarous traffic, and the Queen (Elizabeth) declared to Hawkins that, " if any of
the Africans were carried away without their own consent, it would be detestable, and call down the
vengeance of Heaven upon the undertakers." He satisfied the Queen and continued the traffic, pretending
that it was for the good of the souls of the Africans, as it introduced them to Christianity and civilization.
Already negro slaves had been introduced by the Spaniards into the West Indies. They first enslaved the
natives, but these were unequal to the required toil, and they were soon almost extinguished by hard labor
and cruelty. Charles V. of Spain granted a license to a Fleming to import 4,000 negroes annually into the
West Indies. He sold his license to Genoese merchants, who began a regular trade in human beings between
Africa and the West Indies. These were found to thrive where the native laborers died. The benevolent Las
Casas and others favored the system as a means for saving the Indian tribes from destruction; and the trade
was going on briskly when the English, under the influence of Hawkins, engaged in it in 1562. Ten years
before a few negroes had been sold in England, and it is said that Queen Elizabeth's scruples were so far
removed that she shared in the profits of the traffic carried on by Englishmen. The Stuart kings of England
chartered companies for the trade; and Charles II. and his brother James were members of one of them.
After the revolution of 1688 the trade was thrown open, and in 1713 an English company obtained the
privilege of supplying the Spanish colonies in America, South and Central, for thirty years, stipulating to
deliver 144,000 negro slaves within that period. One quarter of the stock of the company was taken by
King Philip V. of Spain, and Queen Anne of England reserved for herself the other quarter. So the two
monarchs became great slave-dealers.
Slavery Comes to America
The first slaves were introduced into the English-American colonies by a Dutch trader, who, in 1619, sold
twenty of them to the settlers at Jamestown, Va. After that the trade between North America and Africa
was carried on quite vigorously; but some of the colonies remonstrated, and in the Continental Congress,
and also in the public mind, there was a strong desire evinced to abolish the slave-trade. Lawrence and
Cassandra Southwick were banished from the colony of Massachusetts, in 1658, under penalty of death if