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Synopsis

This book gives very detailed accounts of the business of slavery before it became a business in North America with African Americans. It details the Caucasians and their many years of slavery in countries all around the World. 

I introduce these comparisons in order to bring home to your minds, as near as possible, the precise position and character of the territory which was the seat of the evil I am about to describe. It might be worthy of inquiry, why Christian slavery, banished at last from Europe, banished also from that part of this hemisphere which corresponds in latitude to Europe, should have entrenched itself, in both hemispheres, between the same parallels of latitude; so that Virginia, Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas should be the American complement to Morocco, Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Perhaps the common peculiarities of climate, breeding indolence, lassitude, and selfishness, may account for the insensibility to the claims of justice and humanity which have characterized both regions.

The revolting custom of White Slavery in the Barbary States was, for many years, the shame of modern civilization. The nations of Europe made constant efforts, continued through successive centuries, to procure its abolition, and also to rescue their subjects from its fearful doom. These may be traced in the diversified pages of history, and in the authentic memoirs of the times. Literature also affords illustrations, which must not be neglected. At one period, the French, the Italians, and the Spaniards borrowed the plots of their stories mostly from this source.4 The adventures of Robinson Crusoe make our childhood familiar with one of its forms. Among his early trials, he was piratically captured by a rover from Salle, a port of Morocco, on the Atlantic Ocean, and reduced to slavery. "At this surprising change of circumstances," he says, "from a merchant to a miserable slave, I was perfectly overwhelmed; and now I looked back upon my father's prophetic discourse to me, that I should be miserable, and have none to relieve me, which I thought was so effectually brought to pass, that I could not be worse." And Cervantes, in the story of Don Quixote, over which so many generations have shaken with laughter, turns aside from its genial current to give the narrative of a Spanish captive who had escaped from Algiers. The author is supposed to have drawn from his own experience; for during five years and a half he endured the horrors of Algerian slavery, from which he was finally liberated by a ransom of about six hundred dollars.5 This inconsiderable sum of money—less than the price of an intelligent African slave in our own Southern States—gave to freedom, to his country, and to mankind the author of Don Quixote.

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