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Reading34-1 (dragged) 14

Reading34-1 (dragged) 14 - Reading 34-1 15 ton represented...

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15 Reading 34-1 ton represented a life. Every teaspoonful represented 6 days of a slave’s life. Put that way, would anyone in 18thcentury England have touched sugar? But, of course, few people in the 18th century did put the problem quite like that. It was argued then, after the slave trade and slavery had become such a major part of European life that it was impossible to remain neutral on the subject, that the life of the black in Africa was marginally worse than that of the black slave. Warfare, starvation, and African slavery itself made it likely that the black’s expectation of life in his country of origin was no higher than that of the black slave in white ownership. (This argument is morally akin to that of the hunter who says that as the prey will die a horrible death anyway, no ethical harm results from hunting the animal.) What these specious forms of apologia for slavery and the slave trade failed to recognize was that the deleterious effect upon the slave owners and other bene f ciaries of slavery was probably morally more damaging than any harm which, on balance, the black might stiffer from being brutally removed front Africa, from the horrors of the Middle Passage, and from the degradation of the market and “seasoning” in the West Indies. The analogy is with
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