Freebooters and Smugglers
The Foreign Slave Trade in the United States after 1808
Publication Year: 2007
Published by: University of Arkansas Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
Photographs and Illustrations
In the winter of 1819 the infamous Jim Bowie and his two brothers, Rezin and John, transported a coffle (a group of slaves chained together) of bewildered Africans from Texas into Louisiana and stashed them in the wilderness not too far from a federal marshal’s office. Once again the Bowies had avoided arrest for their part in smuggling slaves into the country in violation of an...
1. “A View of Opening a Trade”
As William C.C. Claiborne, the American governor assigned to the Louisiana Territory, stood along the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans in 1809 observing what he believed to be slave ships entering the port, he was convinced that Louisianans were determined to maintain a steady supply of slaves to help bolster their economy. Claiborne faced a litany of legal questions...
2. “A Particular Kind of Force”
When Beverly Chew reported for duty as collector of customs at New Orleans in 1817, he brought with him some issues from his own past that made many in the community skeptical about his ability to conduct fair, impartial, and honest administration of the Abolition Act. Born in Virginia in 1773, Chew settled in New Orleans during Spanish rule and nurtured business relations...
3. “Turbulent and Bad Men”
On January 1, 1830, Jim Bowie left Thibodaux, Louisiana, and headed for Mexico with a close companion.They stopped in Nacogdoches, at the farm of Jared E. Groce on the Brazos River near San Felipe.There, Bowie presented a letter of introduction to Stephen F. Austin from Thomas F. McKinney. By February Bowie and his friend Isaac Donoho had taken an oath of allegiance...
4. “Difficult to Repress”
On December 29, 1845,Texas was officially annexed into the United States. The incorporation of the former republic altered the dynamics of the foreign slave trade in many ways.American jurisdiction meant that the introduction of slaves would be legally limited to the domestic trade.The Abolition Act of 1808 would no longer be an abstract issue but rather a law that placed the...
5. “A Great Frontier Movement”
Several factors helped sustain the foreign slave trade in the United States during the 1850s. One was the highly organized filibuster communities.These expeditions of conquest overcame legal and political attacks and penetrated foreign borders with the intention of toppling governments and reintroducing the foreign slave trade through law, policy, and practice.Using filibusters,...
6. “No Argument Could Be Made”
From his prison cell in New Orleans a convicted slave smuggler, prior to being pardoned for his offense, boasted that New York City had the reputation among slave smugglers and traffickers of being a “chief port” for the foreign slave trade, and that foreign consuls and federal agents were well served to begin directing their attention there as well as the Western Gulf South....
Although this study discusses a finite number of foreign slave trading incidents, it nevertheless demonstrates that freebooters established traceable patterns that outline the history of their efforts to maintain the practice from 1808 until the Civil War. Research into customs records, foreign office records, court cases, newspapers, and contemporary observations helps reconstruct...
Page Count: 230
Illustrations: 11 illustrations and maps
Publication Year: 2007