Lauber, Almon Wheeler
OF the processes in vogue among the English for the acquisition of Indian slaves, the most productive was that of warfare.1 With the exception of the Pequot War and King Philip’s War in New England, the Indian wars in the English colonies were confined to the south, and there the greatest number of Indian war captives were enslaved.
After the Indian massacre of 1622 in Virginia, there was published in London, in the same year, a tract entitled “The Relation of the Barbarous Massacre in Time of Peace and League, treacherously executed by the native infidels upon the English, the Twenty-second of March, 1622, published by Authority.” The general trend of the tract is to show the good that might result to the plantation from this disaster. Number five of the possible results reads: “Because the Indians, who before were used as friends, may now most justly be compelled to servitude in mines, and the like, of whom some may be sent for the use of the Summer Islands.”2
The policy advocated by the tract was carried out in succeeding Indian wars in Virginia. The accounts of a certain Thomas Smallcomb, lieutenant at Fort Royal on Pamunkey, who was probably killed in the war with Opechancanough, show him possessed at the time of his death, 1646, of several Indian slaves.1 It seems probable that these slaves were captives in war. After his rebellion, 1676, Bacon sold some of his Indian prisoners.2 The rest were disposed of by Governor Berkeley.3
From the beginning of the colony, the settlers of Carolina were in trouble with the Indians. In September, 1671, war was declared against the Kussoe, a tribe on the southern frontier who posed as allies of the Spaniards, and who vexed the Carolina settlers with petty depredations. The Kussoe were quickly defeated, and the prisoners sent to be sold out of the colony, unless ransomed by their country men.4 During the war with the Stono Indians in 1680, the captive Indians were brought to Charleston and sold by Governor West to the traders in the colony to be carried to the West Indies as slaves.5
The breaking out of the war of the Spanish Succession in 1701 gave Governor Moore a chance to attack the Spanish Indians, capture and sell them under the excuse of the rules of war. Therefore, in 1702, he led a force of militia and Indians against St. Augustine, burned the city, and carried off, as slaves, whatever Indians he could obtain from the Spanish Indian villages along the way.1 A second attack on St. Augustine was made by Moore in 1704, with the purpose of destroying missions and carrying off slaves.2 An advance into the territories of the Apalachee resulted in the destruction of several missions, and the capture of more than a thousand Indians, some free, some slave.3 Nearly all the Apalachee were distributed as slaves among the Carolina settlers.4 The enslavement of Indians, indeed, was carried on wholesale. A letter to the proprietors, July 10, 1708, states that “the garrison of St. Augustine is by this war reduced to the bare walls, their cattle and Indian towns all consumed, either by us in our invasion of that place, or by our Indian subjects . . . they have driven the Floridians to the islands of the cape, have brought in and sold many hundred of them, and maybe now continue that trade, so that in some five years, they’ll reduce the barbarians to a fearless number.”5 In 1708, Colonel Barnwell of South Carolina made an expedition to the Appalachian province of Florida. It is thought that this was the time when Captain Nairn of South Carolina, with a party of Yamasee Indians, advanced to the vicinity of Lake Okechobee and brought back a number of captive Indians as slaves.6 A similar expedition of Colonel Palmer in 1727 against the Yamasee resulted in the destruction of many Indian towns, the slaughter of many natives, and the carrying off of great numbers to Charleston as slaves.1
As the result of the three expeditions sent by South Carolina from 1702 to 1708 against the Yamasee, Apalachee, and Timucua of northern Florida, there was carried back to Charleston, for sale as slaves, almost the entire population of seven towns, in all, some 1400 persons.2 The captives taken in 1715 when the Yamasee and Creek Indians made a foray upon the South Carolina frontier, were sold as slaves. Mr. Johnston, a South Carolina missionary of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, in his letter to the Society, December 19, 1715, states: “It is certain many of the Yammousees and Creek Indians were against the war all along. But our military men were so bent upon revenge, and so desirous to enrich themselves by making all the Indians slaves that fall into yr hands . . . . that it is in vain to represent the cruelty and injustice of such a procedure”.3
Throughout the Tuscarora War in North Carolina, Indian captives were retained or sold as slaves.4 At the beginning of military operations, following the Indian massacre of 1711, the friendly Indians agreed to help the English against their enemy upon promise of a reward of six blankets for each man killed by them, and the usual price of slaves for each woman and child delivered as captives.1 During the course of the war several hundred Indian allies were used by the English,2 and these allies took advantage of the opportunity to obtain large number of Indian captives to sell to the slave traders of the time.
In an attack on an Indian fort in 1711, thirty-nine women and children were captured and disposed of in the settlements as slaves.3 The two chief expeditions during the war were those of Colonel Barnwell, who was sent by South Carolina in January, 1712, and of Colonel Moore in January and February, 1713. Colonel Barnwell’s expedition took two hundred Indian women and children prisoners.4 The expedition of Colonel Moore virtually ended the war by capturing the fort in which the Tuscarora had taken refuge.5 Nine hundred men, women and children were killed or taken prisoners.6 In both expeditions the allied Indians secured as many as possible of the captured Indians whom they took along with them to sell as slaves in Charleston,7 and they still further increased their supply of slaves by attacking the peaceful Indians along the route of their return to South Carolina.8 During the course of the war more than seven hundred Indians were sold into slavery.
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