White Slavery: You Can’t Debunk the Truth
by David Sims
THE WAY TO TELL honest historical scholarship from a deceptive leftist attack on history is as follows:
Real scholarship is generally something that you have to take the trouble to find. Nobody sets it under headlines and under your nose. If a historical narrative pops up with the suddenness, the immediacy, and the ubiquity with which we are presently seeing in the “The Irish were not slaves” campaign, then it is probably an exercise in grand deception.
If the media ever come bursting all over the web (Snopes, Slate, Wikipedia, NPR, New York Times, Associated Press, Salon, a dozen or so videos on YouTube, etc. etc.) about some sort of “fact checking” or “myth debunking,” as they are doing now with White slavery, it’s probably an orchestrated hoax.
Real scholarship doesn’t start spouting from every possible venue like water from a thousand fire hoses. But, as to particulars:
The Tudors of England tried to exterminate the Irish people during the 17th century. Their biggest success occurred during a massive genocide (1641-1652), when the population of Ireland fell from about 1,500,000 to about 600,000.
The death toll from this genocide and that from the Great Famine that occurred two centuries later (1845-1852) were both in the rough neighborhood of one million people. The Irish émigrés from the famine were indentured servants in large part, and some of them were transported voluntarily, as they sought to make their way to a land where they wouldn’t starve to death.
But the Irish transported after the 17th century military slaughters that occurred during the Tudor conquest of Ireland were mostly slaves. The enslavement of the Irish began about 1610. It is known that King James I, who began his reign in 1603 upon the death of Queen Elizabeth I (under whom the conquest of Ireland began), sold Irish slaves in South America in 1612.
The first Black slaves arrived in 1617, though it was another 38 years before a Virginia judge gave judicial cognizance to the institution of slavery.
In 1625, King James II (whose reign began that same year) decreed that all Irish political prisoners must be transported to the West Indies and sold (as slaves, not as indentured servants) to English farmers. Not long afterward, Irish slaves were the majority among slaves in the English colonies.
The point, however, is that the circumstances of the Irish transportees to the Americas were generally dissimilar between the two events: (1) the transport of Irish prisoners following the Tudor genocide against the Irish in the mid-17th century and (2) the transport of Irish escaping the potato famine in the mid-19th century. The leftists are conflating the circumstances in the later event with those of the former event, and trusting to the Americans’ general ignorance of history to carry off a hoax in which they attempt to “debunk” the truth.
I might have said this before, somewhere. But it bears repeating.
The difference between a slave and an indentured servant isn’t the amount of time he spends in bondage. Nor is it the treatment he receives from his master. Nor does it depend on whether or not his children inherit his status.
An indentured servant is a servant by contract, made either by agreement or imposed by legal force (a court). If a (contract of) indenture exists, the person to whom it applies is an indentured servant. If no such contract exists, then the bound person is a slave.
There is no way that all of the tens of thousands of Irish deported and sold by King James I and King James II in South America, in the Caribbean, and in North America were contracted servants. They were mostly prisoners of war, sold not as indentured servants, but as slaves. Of course, there were, also, some number of White indentured servants who were bound under contract to a period of servitude in all of those same places and at about the same time.
But let’s not pretend that the indentured servants were the most representative case. Most likely, they were the minority of bound White persons sold in the Americas. Making that pretense is what Liam Hogan is doing… I think.
Quoted from Within a Presumption of Godlessness by Tom Dauria:
Though it is semantics and inconsequential, Christians never captured and enslaved a free African people. Many Christians did, however, become slaveholders by purchasing those who were already slaves. This occurred in a historical era when the civilized world was a monarchy and serfdom. The masses were serfs or indentured servants. There were white slaves in America as well as black slaveholders. As many as one-half of all the arrivals in the American colonies were white slaves and were America’s first slaves. This slavery was even hereditary. White children born to white slaves were enslaved, too.
White men and women were auctioned off on the block; husbands were separated from wives and children from their parents as they were sold to the highest bidder. In America there were free Black slaveholders in northern cities and free black property owners in southern cities. Moreover, many white slaves were worked to death in the sugar mills of Barbados and Jamaica and the plantations of Virginia.
The establishment aided and abetted by the godless media has created the misnomer “indentured servitude” to explain away and minimize the fact of white slavery. But bound whites in early America called themselves slaves. Nine-tenths of white slavery in America was conducted without indentures of any kind, but according to the so-called “custom of the country,” as it was known to the white slave merchants, meaning the enslavement was for life.
In George Sandy’s laws for Virginia, whites were enslaved “forever.” The service of whites bound to Berkeley’s Hundred was deemed “perpetual.” These accounts have been policed out of the much touted “standard reference works” such as Abbott Emerson Smith’s Colonists in Bondage. The obvious intent is to obscure some historical facts, but God alone knows intent.
Summary of the above information from Tom Dauria: Although there was an institution called, and accurately described as, “indentured servitude,” the majority of whites in bondage were not indentured servants because there was no contract of indenture in their case. They were held as slaves according to a supposed informal institution termed “the custom of the country,” which was likely invented by the slave-selling profiteers for their own convenience.
There were kindly slave-owners, notably including George Washington, whose treatment of slaves was so charitable that the slaves did not want to be freed when Washington decided to free them upon the death of his wife. You might say that he “ruthlessly” freed them anyway, except that he did continue to take care of his elderly former slaves. It is, however, unfortunately true that most slaveholders weren’t as considerate toward their slaves as was George Washington.
Likewise, most of the White Irish transported into slavery in the mid-1600s did not have a contract of indenture with anyone, and therefore they were not “indentured servants.” They were just plain slaves.
Of course, there were along with the White slaves also a number of Whites who were indentured servants. Today, the leftist liars are pointing at these indentured Whites and claiming that they were representative cases, whereas they are no such things. Moreover, even White indentured servants tended to be worked to death. When the laws allowed it, they usually were used up.
The historian Liam Hogan asserts that the Irish shipped off to the Caribbean during the 17th century weren’t really “slaves,” even though he probably recognizes that most of them were involuntary transportees, inducted to servitude against their will, and by force rather than as a punishment for crime or for debt.
Hogan insists that the distinction with respect to slavery, on the one hand, and indentured servitude, on the other, is whether or not the servitude is “life-long” and “hereditary.” On the contrary, the distinction is whether or not a contract of indenture was signed by the person who became a servant thereby, or alternatively had such a contract imposed on him legally by a judge. If such a contract existed, then he was an indentured servant. If such a contract did not exist, then he was a slave.
We can, of course, argue about whether the terms of slavery for White slaves were better than those of Black slaves.
But a number of writers in the “Irish were indeed slaves” camp say that in at least some cases, an Irish slave was a slave for life and his children after him. So someone is lying, and I suspect that the liar might be Hogan.
One thing seems rather certain: the White slaves were worked in more hazardous conditions, in more demanding jobs, as opposed to the farm labor that Black slaves were usually used for. White slaves were worked-to-death more often than were Black slaves because the White slaves were cheaper.
When Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) made a tour of the Southern seaboard slave states, he noticed that a ship was being loaded by both Black and White slaves. But the Black slaves were all dockside or topside, tossing heavy bales of cargo into the ship’s hold. The slaves in the hold, trying to catch the bales were all White. Curious as to why this arrangement of laborers prevailed, Olmsted asked his guide to explain. The guide replied that the Black slaves cost more, whereas the White slaves cost relatively little, so if anyone was going to get his back broken or drowned in the sea, the slave-owner would prefer that it was one of his White slaves who died, rather than one of his Black slaves.
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