The Massachusetts Slave Trade.

the rest consotiated shall assist each other to the utmost of their power in all extremities . . . . whatever by casualties by sea, or force of enemy, or if in any case any of the said companies of the said ships shall be taken, by any enemy the other consotiated shall indeavor to ye utmost of yr power to redeem ym, and furthermore whatsoever negars, or goods gold, or silver, or other quallity or vallers, shalbe equally divided tunn for tunn, and man for man, in each severall ship, in ye country of Ginny." For the better performance of these articles of agreement they bound themselves "ioyntly and severally each to other, in the sums of two thousand pounds starling English monye to performe, and give a iust accompt each to other of all goods, or marchandize so taken." The risks attending such enterprises during this early period are hinted at in the clause providing that "what troubles shall accrue by taking neagers, or by or commissons, or any suites of Lawe about ym each severall parties here bound shall give account of what was taking, and be ready to assist each other herein to all seuts of Lawe whatsover or disbursements." This document is signed by Robert Shopton, Miles Causon, and James Smith, "each his seale against his name," and by three witnesses.
      In 1646 occurred an episode which is often quoted to prove the existence of an antislavery sentiment in Massachusetts at that early date, but which on closer inspection will hardly bear that interpretation. The General Court ordered that two Negroes brought to Boston by one Captain James Smith should be sent back to Guinea. This action was not, however, a protest against the slave trade but against the manner in which the negroes in question had been procured, for they had been taken by deceit and force, not bought after the approved method. Governor Winthrop tells the story:1 "Mr. James Smith (who was a member of the church of Boston) with his mate Keyser were bound for Guinea to trade for negroes. But when they arrived there, they met with some Londoners, with whom they consorted, and the Londoners having been formerly injured by the natives (or at least pretending the same), they invited them aboard one of their ships on the Lord's day, and such as came they kept prisoners, then they landed men, and a murderer, and assaulted one of their towns and killed many of the people." The public conscience made a nice discrimination between man-buying and man-stealing, and wished the natives of Guinea to understand the horror excited by this act. The decision of the General Court (November 4, 1646) reads as follows:2 "The Genrall Corte, conceiving themselves bound by ye first opportunity to bear witness against ye haynos & crying sinn of man stealing, as also to prescribe such timely redresse for what is past, & such a law for ye future as may sufficiently deterr all othrs belonging to us to have to do in such vile & most odious courses, iustly abhored of all good & iust men, do order, yt ye negro interpreter, wrth othrs unlawfully taken, be, by ye first oportunity, (at ye charge of ye country for present,) sent to his native country of Ginny, & a letter wth him of ye indignation of ye Corte thereabouts, & iustice hereof, desireing or honored Govrnr would please to put this order in execution."
      Edward Randolph, who was sent over from England to inquire into the condition of his Majesty's plantations, reported in regard to Boston in 1676, among other things, that there were "some ships lately sent to Guinea, Madagascar and those coasts."3 In the same year the Royal African Company complained that interloping slave ships from the colonies sold their cargoes in the West Indies.4 Governor Bradstreet defended Massachu-


1 Winthrop, History of New England, II, 243, 244.
2 Mass. Bay Records, II. 167.
3 Hutcliinson, Papers, p. 495.
4 Mass. Stat. Assoc., I.

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