1790The United States- According to the first census, there are 757,000 blacks in the United States, comprising 19% of the total population. Nine percent of blacks are free. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
Virginia’s slave population reaches 200,000, up from over 100,000 from 1756. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The Census of 1790, revealed 59,557 Free Negroes and 697,624 slaves in a population of 3,929,625, the most slaves being in Virginia (292,627) and the least in New Hampshire (157). (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX)
From the United States Historical Census Data Browser.
1790 By the American Revolution, 20 percent of the overall population in the thirteen colonies was of African descent. The legalized practice of enslaving blacks occurred in every colony. The economic realities of the southern colonies, however, perpetuated the institution, which was first legalized in Massachusetts in 1641. During the Revolutionary era, more than half of all African-Americans lived in Virginia and Maryland. Most of these blacks lived in the Chesapeake region, where they made up more than 50 to 60 percent of the overall population. The majority, but not all, of these African-Americans were slaves. In fact, the first official United States Census, taken in 1790, showed that 8 percent of the black populace was free. [Edgar A. Toppin. "Blacks in the American Revolution" (published essay, Virginia State University, 1976), p. 1]. Whether free or slave, blacks in the Chesapeake established familial relationships, networks for disseminating information, survival techniques, and various forms of resistance to their condition. (Colonial Williamsburg Web Page)
1790The first successful U.S. cotton mill is established at the falls of the Blackstone River at what later will be called Pawtucket, R.I. Samuel Slater and ironmaster David Wilkinson set up a mill that operates satisfactorily after a correction is made in the slope of the carder teeth (see 1789; 1793; Whitney, 1792). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
1790More than half the 750,000 blacks in the United States lived in Maryland and Virginia. (Bob Arnebeck, A Shameful Heritage, Washington Post Magazine, January 18, 1889)
1790Slave make up population of Maryland of which DC was apart at the time is 97,623 total of which 43,450 is Black. (See http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/cliff_m/ for genealogical research) The Census for Prince George's County, MD, lists 20 family units, living in what will become the federal city, (most likely in the Florida Ave boundary and excluding Georgetown. Eddie) consisting of : 37 free white males of at least 16 years, 35 free white males of at least 16 years, 35 free white males under 16 years, 53 free white females, 4 other free persons, and 591 slaves; for a total of 720. (Chronology of Events in the History of the District of Columbia, Compiled by Philip Ogilvie, Deposited in the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC)
1790The population of the United States in 1790 was about 4 million, of whom 60,000 were free blacks and 400,000 were slaves. The largest contributor of colonists to the Americas was Great Britain. During the 17th century, about 250,000 English immigrants arrived, settling primarily in Virginia, Massachusetts, and the Caribbean islands. In the 18th century more than 1.5 million people came from the British Isles to America. The majority of newcomers to the Western Hemisphere, however, were African slaves. About 10 million of them were brought over before 1800. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online )
1790First Census lists 697,897 slaves in the United States. (British Source http://the.arc.co.uk/arm/CronOfColonialism.html)
1790/06Alexander Hamilton of New York and Virginians Thomas Jefferson and James Madison worked out a compromise that permitted southern Members to support assumption of the national dept, if northern Members did not block the effort to locate the permanent seat of government on the Potomac River. Congress had been deadlocked over the issue of funding the national dept. Most northern states wanted the federal government to assume the states' debts, while most southern states opposed assumption. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)
1790/07/16Congress passes act to make Washington, DC the Capitol of the United States. (H. Paul Caemmerer, The Life of Pierre Charles L'Enfant Planner o the City of Beautiful, The City of Washington, Washington DC, 1950)
1790West Indies- Blacks comprise seven-eighths of the islands' 529,000 inhabitants. Less than 3% are free. Mulattos in French Santo Domingo own 10% of the slaves and land. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1790/07The Residence Act passes both Houses of Congress and was signed into law by President George Washington. The compromise stipulated that for the next decade the national government would reside for the fourth and final time in Philadelphia, where Congress Hall would house the national legislature while a new capital was readied on a Potomac River site to be selected by President Washington. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)
1790Pierre Charles L'Enfant develops plan for capital city; he and President Washington select site for "Congress House."(U.S. Capital web Page Chronology )
1790/10/28Uprising of Free colored men in Port-with-Prince, Haiti (Chronology of the abolition of French slavery Remerciements à Pascal Boyries, Professeur d'Histoire-Géographie, au lycée Charles Baudelaire d'Annecy)
Haiti, of course, is often held up as an exception to history--a successful slave revolution. Langley's account is sufficiently complete, however, to show that it was nothing of the sort. The leaders of the revolt against French rule were certainly black, but they were not slaves--they were slave-owners themselves. Saint Domingue (as it was known before the revolution) was exceptional in the Caribbean in having a large number of free coloreds who included "French-educated planters, tradesmen, artisans and small landholders," and whose "rapid advancement occasionally alarmed even the grand blancs," or white plantation owners (p. 106). The free coloreds copied white manners and dress, and provoked a backlash of legal restrictions from the 1760s through the 1780s. Beginning with prohibitions against the practice of medicine, coloreds were later barred from serving as court clerks or notaries. By the late 1780s, coloreds were obliged to file for a permit to conduct any trade except farming. They were denied the rights of assembly, refused noble status, and kept out of the regular military. In their view, the free coloreds had become "a class of men born French, but degraded by cruel and vile prejudices and laws" (p. 106). With forty thousand whites and five hundred thousand African slaves, the colony of Saint Domingue had a similar white/slave structure to many other Caribbean and even southern British colonies. But it also had thirty thousand free coloreds, who in effect held the balance. For the white elite was sharply divided between highland and lowland, northern and southern, coffee and sugar, planter and merchant, groups. White divisions intensified when France was swept by its revolution in the 1790s, and the free coloreds stepped up to demand their rights as citizens.
An initial revolt of free coloreds was brutally suppressed by Saint Domingue's planters, but in Paris the Assembly declared that all free-born coloreds should enjoy full rights equal to the whites. Saint Domingue's leaders refused to publish this decree, but news spread and a second rebellion of free coloreds broke out. This time, however, the free colored revolts also triggered slave revolts in the northern plains. These slave revolts were ferocious--thousands of plantations were burned and hundreds of white families were killed and mutilated. In reprisal, the whites reacted with equal savagery, hanging and breaking blacks and coloreds in public squares, decapitating leaders and placing their heads on pikes. These extremes of violence then exacerbated divisions and set the stage for decades of bloody civil war.
In these wars, free coloreds first gained the support of troops sent from France. Sometimes joining with the whites to keep slaves from overthrowing the entire social order, sometimes recruiting slaves to join militias aimed at repulsing attacks from Spain or new, more conservative French governors, loyalties shifted from year to year and month to month. The only thing that steadily increased was the militarization of the populace and the arming and incitement of slaves to support various factions. In the end, black slave leaders arose, mainly Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Toussaint L'Overture (who was a free colored, but had once been a slave) who consolidated control of the island. But the struggle for independence destroyed the plantation economy, and left an impoverished land of marginal freeholders in its wake. (review by Jack A. Goldstone, of book by Lester D. Langley. _The Americas in the Age of Revolution 1750-1850_. New Haven, Conn. and London: Yale University Press, 1996. xvi + 374 pp. Maps, notes, and index. $35.00 (cloth), ISBN 0-300-06613-9.)
1790The number of black Methodists increases to 11,682. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library)
1791/01/24George Washington announces decision to move capital. Montgomery Maryland donates 70 sq. miles of land on the Potomac River for the permanent U.S. capital - Washington, the District of Columbia (MD info from Maryland A Chronology & Documentary Handbook, 1978 Oceana Publications, Inc.)
1791/03 While the Capital was still located in Philadelphia, George Washington, fearing the impact of a Pennsylvania law freeing slaves after six months residence in that state, instructed his secretary Tobias Lear to ascertain what effect the law would have on the status of the slaves who served the presidential household in Philadelphia. In case Lear believed that any of the slaves were likely to seek their freedom under Pennsylvania law, Washington wished them sent home to Mount Vernon. "If upon taking good advise it is found expedient to send them back to Virginia, I wish to have it accomplished under pretext that may deceive both them and the Public." When one of his slaves ran away in 1795 Washington told his overseer to take measures to apprehend the slave "but I would not have my name appear in any advertisement, or other measure, leading to it." (Tobias Lear, Letters and Recollections of George Washington, NY, 1906, page 38; Washington to William Pearce, 22 Mar. 1795, Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union. Recounted in "That Species of Property": Washington's Role in the Controversy Over Slavery by Dorothy Twohig Originally Presented at a Conference on Washington and Slavery at Mount Vernon, October 1994)
1791 Mar. – Aug.Benjamin Banneker accompanied Charles l'Enfant, a French engineer in surveying the terrain that would eventually become the District of Columbia. Banneker, who had taught himself mathematics and astronomy, was able to prepare an accurate almanac was recommended for the job by Andrew Ellicott of Baltimore, one of the commissioners. L'enfant unfortunately never finished the map. A perfectionist, he revised and rearranged, seemingly heedless of President Washington's warning that if construction of the public buildings did not start in the near future, Congress might decide to keep the seat of government in Philadelphia. In February 1792 Washington deeply troubled by the months of delay, dismissed the Frenchman and requested Andrew Ellicott to finish the job. (Constance Mclaughlin Green, The Secret City, 1967 more on Banneker see )
Washington'. handling of city planner Pierre L'Enfant was as convoluted and confusing as his handling of Burnes and Stoddert. Washington had admired L'Enfant's renovation of Federal Hall in New York City where Congress met in 1789 and 1790. He could think of no other man then available better able to design a capital city and its public buildings and parks. He sent L'Enfant to Georgetown in early March 1791.
However L'Enfant was not the only man sent to build the capital. The law establishing the capital mandated that the president appoint three commissioners to oversee the project. Proprietors were so uncertain of them that before deeding their lands for the new city, they got Washington to agree that he would be the final arbiter of the design of the city and the sites of the public buildings. So in all matters dealing with design L'Enfant needed the president's approval. In all matters dealing with development, L'Enfant was to look to the commissioners. L'Enfant soon realized he could not work with men who visited the city once a month for a few days to oversee his activity. In August he took his plan to the president and also his complaints about the commissioners' plans on how to carry it through. These three small town land owners were quite taken with the idea of financing operations from the sale of lots. L'Enfant, a man of the world, probably advised by Treasury Secretary Hamilton, thought funds should be raised through a loan so that the interest on the loan would be serviced by the sale of lots. Washington approved the plan of the city, but left it to the commissioners to deal with L'Enfant's concerns how to implement the plan.
It was a disingenuous dodge by the president. Obtaining a loan to build the city before selling lots, was something the commissioners would only let the president decide. So, the commissioners' planned an early auction of lots, evidently what the president wanted too, though he could still maintain the fiction to L'Enfant that it was out of his hands. Not getting his way, L'Enfant obeyed only those orders from the commissioners that suited him. They wanted him to dig clay for making bricks. L'Enfant ignored the order. When they asked him to buy stone, he acted with dispatch and soon had quarriers at work. Even before the public buildings had been designed by L'Enfant, the commissioners were anticipating using the cheaper material, brick, to build them. L'Enfant wanted stone. Citing a vague clause in one commission orders that he was to do whatever was necessary to build the city, L'Enfant stopped submitting his work plans for the commissioners' prior approval.
Washington let this battle simmer and even sided with L'Enfant when he leveled a newly built house on Capitol Hill, owned by the nephew of one of the commissioners, because he decided it interfered with his plan. The first year of work on the city ended with the commissioners and L'Enfant battling at every turn with the proprietors choosing sides. In the end the passionate French designer was no match in political in-fighting with the three commissioners. Hoping for peace Washington summoned his old friend and commissioner Thomas Johnson to Philadelphia to smooth things over with L'Enfant. Johnson was smart enough not to come. L'Enfant withheld final details of his plan and his plans for the public buildings hoping to use that as leverage to regain control. Washington had created an unworkable situation in which the only possible solution was dismissing L'Enfant. (Washington's Biggest Mistake,... Washington. Bob Arnebeck's Page on Early Washington History )
1791/04/13Boundaries for the Federal District laid out. The ceremonies for placing this stone marker wee under the direction of Elisha Cullen Dick, then Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge. (Ray Baker Harris, Sesqui-Centennial History of the Grand Lodge Free and accepted Masons, District of Columbia, 1811-1961, Washington, DC, 1962)
L'Enfant's plan wasn't so popular with many of his contemporaries. Although he is hailed today as something of an urban-planning genius, at the time government leaders including Washington and Jefferson feared he had gone too far. They believed that his plan was too ambitious and too costly for the young republic. Their immediate concern was chiefly for the construction of the Capitol, the White House, and the area around Pennsylvania Avenue, in a practical effort to house the government when it relocated from the North in 1800. Jefferson's notes from a meeting with the planning commissioners reflected his belief that "the public squares [on the map of the city] are to be left blank except that for the Capitol and the other for the executive departments, which are to be considered as appropriated at present, all other particular appropriations of squares to remain till they are respectively wanted." (The Mall, On-line Reference from the University of Virginia American Studies Department, Site developed by Mary Halnon )
From the beginning of the city’s history, slavery was an integral part of the economy. Slaves formed the core of the early labor force, working on the construction of public and private buildings almost as frequently as they served as household servants. When the government embarked on public works, it also hired slave labor; the Treasury Department paid the absentee masters for the use of their human chattel. To protect slaveholders in the city, a special tax was levied on nonresident slave labor.
Wedged between two slave states, the District of Columbia was ideally located to become the hub of the domestic slave trade. With the increased demand for slaves caused by the expansion of cotton cultivation in the lower South and the slow but steady reduction of tobacco cultivation in Maryland and Virginia, a growing "surplus" of slaves developed in the vicinity of the capital." (Green, Constance McLaughlin. Washington: Village and Capital 1800-1878. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1962, 53-54.)
Slaves hired from their masters by Pierre L'Enfant begin work on the Construction of the White House. "Since much was accomplished very quickly there must have been many; the conditions of their labor from daybreak to dark under the command of tough, hard-drinking James Dermott can only be imagined." Do to lack of skilled labor in Washington, DC, The White House master stonemason, Collen Williamson, had to train hired slaves on the spot at the quarry to cut the stone to build the foundation of the White House. (The President's House: a History by William, Seale and Harry N. Abrams, White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society, 1986, vol. 1, Pages 38, 50, 52,57,60)
James Dermott was described by the Commissioners as one who "now and then drank to access (sic) and when enebrated (sic) ... is unruly and quarrelsome." They "did not perceive that it's (sic) frequency injured the business he was engaged in," Dermott would be discharged for misconduct by the Commissioners in January 2, 1798 (Letter of March 23, 1794 cited in Chronology of Events in the History of the District of Columbia, Compiled by Philip Ogilvie, Deposited in the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC)
In 1792 the commissioners hired James Dermott to assist in the surveying. The chief surveyor, Andrew Ellicott, a Quaker friend of Benjamin. Banneker, assigned Dermott the task of supervising the slave axe-men. The commissioners worried that someone so fresh from Ireland would not handle blacks correctly. By 1799 Dermott was a slave trader, offering nine women and children, including three girls from six to tan years old, for sale. He even advertised a service to help planters get back their runaway slaves, which didn't prevent a Virginian from placing a counter ad accusing Dermott of harboring a slave named Robert. According to the ad the slave, who had been sold by a parson to a. Alexandria merchant and by him to a barkeeper and by him to an Orange County planter, "has been seen in the employ of Mr. James R. Dermot and supposed to be concealed by said Dermot."
Not that Dermott was a safe haven for a slave. At the same time he was offering a reward for jailing or flogging Fidelio, "well known about the city" and probably lurking at an old farm in the city along the Anacostia, "where he has a wife. "As the 1790's wore on ads for runaways seemed to pertain less to a bonafide case of a black man trying to escape to freedom, than a slave remaining in the city and taking advantage of the social upheaval attendant to the development of the capital city. Bennett Fenwick's ad for Jim reads as if he relished the opportunity to insult the slave who though he couldn't read would have asked someone to read the ad. Jim, Fenwick proclaimed, "is very fond of spiritous liquors, and very droll. He will curse any one he is acquainted with, pretend to strip himself and make believe he will tear them to pieces, but as soon as they come up he will run from them." And indirectly attesting to the impunity with which some slaves sassed their masters, Fenwick had to remind readers that he was serious. "I forewarn all persons," his ad concluded, "from harboring, hiring or dealing with any of my Negroes as I am determined to act in such cases as the law directs." (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History )
In a letter from the Commissioners to William Wright, it states that they need "...about sixty hands, you need not be precise as to the number, of which we think, with you as many of them should be good Negroes as you can get. (National Archives, RG 42. Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital, Copies of Letterbooks of letters sent by the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 1791-98, Box 1 entry 104 Volume 3 dated September 1, 1792.)
Collen Williamson, master stonemason at the Capitol, was another founder (along with Hoban) of Federal Lodge No. 1 of Freemasons in Washington, DC. "A Scotsman, quiet and modest, declining place or prominence, but one whose true worth may in some measure be estimated from his meeting the exacting requirements of Hoban, the architect, whose insistent demands for sound and finished work on the pubic edifices were the case of endless contentions. He left the Capitol on bad terms with the Commissioners of the city and dies in February, 1802." (Charles F. Benjamin, A History of Federal Lodge No 1.contained in the by-laws of Federal Lodge, No. 1 Free and Accepted masons of the District of Columbia with a History of the Lodge, 1901 Gibson Bros., Washington, DC)
The winner of a 1792 competition for its design was the Irish-American architect James Hoban, whose dignified neoclassical plan was a virtual copy of a project in James Gibbs's Book of Architecture (1728). As early as 1807, Benjamin Latrobe, the principal architect of the Capitol, sought to improve the building by preparing designs for pavilions at either end (added that year in collaboration with Thomas Jefferson), for interior alterations, and for porticos on both fronts. After the building was burned (1814) by the British, it was reconstructed (1815-17) by Hoban, who also added (1826) the semicircular South Portico that Latrobe had proposed and completed (1829) Latrobe's rectangular North Portico. (The White House)
Some slaves worked right along side their masters. While the commissioners only rented slaves they described as "laborers" and never trained slaves to do skilled labor, they did allow James Hoban to bring his skilled slave carpenters to the city. Hoban learned the art of building in Dublin, then emigrated to Charleston, South Carolina. When he heard bout the open competition to design the public buildings in Washington, he came to the city via Philadelphia where he conferred with President Washington. His design of what was then called the president's house won the competition. Impressed by his experience, the commissioners hired Hoban to supervise building it. He returned to Charleston and brought back several Irish carpenters, and his and their slaves. The earliest payroll for skilled workers at the White House dates from January 1795. Nine white carpenters, three white apprentices, and five slave carpenters were at work. The white carpenters made $1.09 a day, the apprentices from 84 to 97 cents a day, and the slaves from 53 to 84 cents a day for their masters. The month's wages of Peter, Ben, Harry and Daniel, totaling $60, went to James Hoban. It seems these slave carpenters worked side by side with the white. For example, the crew that built a bridge over Tiber Creek which ran along today's Constitution Avenue consisted of two white and two slave carpenters.
Judging from the payrolls only slaves brought to the city by Hoban and his assistants got skilled work with the commissioners. However, the commissioners did hire free blacks, and one of them, Jerry Holland, did make a. impression. In January 1795 he worked as one of 9 laborers on the surveying crew. "Pay Jerry the black man," the chief surveyor wrote to the commissioners, "a rate of $8 per month for his last moths services; he is justly entitled to the highest wages that is due to our hands - being promised it and the best hand in the department." The commissioners ignored the recommendation.
In May 1796 a man listed as "Negro William" worked as a bricklayer earning $1.33 a day, equal to what white masons were getting. But in all other monthly payrolls the masons were all white. To save paying high wages to masons, a new commissioner, William Thornton, who was not a southern slave owner, proposed buying 50 intelligent Negroes" and having a few very high paid white train them in stone work. In return the slaves would get their freedom in five years. His colleagues didn't take the proposal seriously.
Slaves did specialize in certain tasks other than the general drudgery of hauling building materials. They predominated in the sawpits where timber was cut for the carpenters, and predominated in the crews making bricks. Unfortunately the commissioners contracted out for bricks so other than the insistent calls of one contractor for more slaves, no record remains of the size and composition of the crews. Upwards of 40 slaves probably worked for such contractors bringing the total number of slaves working on the public buildings to a little over 150, in a total workforce of seldom more than 300.While the master brick makers in the city were white, slaves achieved considerable skill. Slaves who could make bricks went for a higher rental, over 50 cents a day. Towards the end of the decade, after millions of bricks had been made for the interior walls of the Capitol and White House, contractors making bricks for private houses in the city advertised for "Negroes that have been used to the brickmaking business, amongst which must be four good moulders, temperers, and boys as off-bearers, for which generous wages will be given." Tending brick kilns was hot work that whites shunned, and that was also the case with plaster. When it came time to plaster the interior walls of the public building, plaster rock was brought up Rock Creek to Pierce's Mill where it was ground and then boiled down by slaves. (Slaves at the Founding)
The City of Washington welcomed both coastal slave ships and increasingly numerous overland coffles. Slave pens were established in what is now Potomac Park, and one thrived in the shadows of the White House, behind Decatur House on Lafayette Square. When the pens were full, the city jails were pressed into service as holding centers for slaves awaiting passage to Georgia and the new cotton and sugar plantations of the lower South. (G. Franklin Edwards and Michael R. Winston, Commentary: The Washington of Paul Jennings—White House Slave, Free Man, and Conspirator for Freedom. White House Historical Association)
1791Oliver Evans patents an "automated mill" in which power that turns the millstones also conveys wheat (grist) to the top of the mill. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf) (Select here for a description of the milling process.)
1791Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario), was created in 1791 to cope with the influx of refugees from the American Revolution, was home to several hundred slaves, many of them brought there by their loyalist owners fleeing the new republics. Upper Canada's first parliament, under pressure from Governor Simcoe, passed an act to gradually abolish slavery in the colony: No more slaves could be brought into Upper Canada. Those already in the colony prior to the Act were to remain slaves for the rest of their lives. The children of female slaves already in Upper Canada would be free upon reading their 25th birthday. Reflecting pressure from slave owners and some members of the elective Assembly, what were seen as existing property rights were protected but legal slavery was doomed to steadily decline and eventual disappearance in the colony. This Upper Canadian statute did not explicitly deal with the question of the rights of fugitive slaves who had escaped to Upper Canada but as a result of the legal opinion of the colony's Chief Justice in 1818 no one seen as a slave in another jurisdiction could be returned there simply because he/she had sought freedom in Upper Canada. Whatever their status in the U.S. or elsewhere, in Upper Canada they were free long before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1833. (Posting on SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU by Dr. Jeffrey L. McNairn, Department of History, York University, Toronto, Ontario, email@example.com)
1791/08/22Haitian Revolution began with revolt of slaves in northern province. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
Undoubtedly, the most outstanding slave revolt in the western hemisphere took place in Haiti. During the French revolution, concepts of the rights of man spread from France to her colonies. In Haiti, the free mulattos petitioned the French revolutionary government for their rights. The Assembly granted their request. However, the French aristocrats in Haiti refused to follow the directives of the Assembly. At this point, two free mulattos, Vincent Oge and Jean Baptiste Chavannes, both of whom had received an education in Paris, led a mulatto rebellion. The Haitian aristocrats quickly and brutally suppressed it.
By this time, however, the concepts of the rights of man had spread to the slave class. In 1791, under the leadership of Toussaint l'Ouverture, the slaves began a long and bloody revolt of their own. Slaves flocked to Toussaint's support by the thousands until he had an army much larger than any that had fought in the American revolution, This revolt became entangled with the French revolution and the European wars connected with it. Besides fighting the French, Toussaint had to face both British and Spanish armies. None of them was able to suppress the revolt and to overthrow the republic which had been established in Haiti. After Napoleon came to power in France, he sent a gigantic expedition under Leclerc to reestablish French authority in Haiti. While he claimed to stand for the principles of the revolution, Napoleon's real interest in Haiti was to make it into a base from which to rebuild a French empire in the western hemisphere. Toussaint lured this French army into the wilderness where the soldiers, who had no immunity to tropical diseases, were hit very hard by malaria and yellow fever. Toussaint was captured by trickery, but his compatriots carried on the fight for independence. Finally, Napoleon was forced to withdraw from the struggle. One of the results of his failure to suppress the slave revolt in Haiti was his abandonment of his New World dreams and his willingness to sell Louisiana to the United States. Unfortunately, this meant new areas for the expansion of the plantation economy and slavery. In other words, the Haitian revolution was responsible for giving new life to the institution of slavery inside America.
American plantation owners were faced with a dilemma. The Louisiana Purchase, resulting from the revolution in Haiti, greatly expanded the possibilities of plantation agriculture. This meant a greater need for slave labor. However, they were not sure from which source to purchase these slaves. They hesitated to bring new slaves directly from Africa. They were also loath to bring seasoned slaves from the Caribbean. Events in Haiti had demonstrated that these Caribbean slaves might not be as docile as previously had been believed. Certainly, Americans did not want repetition of the bloody Haitian revolt within their own borders. Greedy men still bought slaves where they could, but many American slave owners were deeply disturbed and began to give serious thought to terminating the importation of African slaves to America. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. chapter 2, Caribbean Interlude.)
George Washington after receiving report of "alarming state of affairs" provides U.S. loan of up to $40,000 for urgently needed provisions to that island, to the French Minister. (George Washington to Alexander Hamilton, September 24, 1791 The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.--vol. 31 Mount Vernon, September 24, 1791.)
In a follow-up letter, George Washington writes that the United States are to render every aid in their power to our good friends and Allies the French to quell "the alarming insurrection of the Negros in Hispaniola (Haiti)" and sent "orders to the Secretary of the Treasury to furnish the money, and to the Secretary of War to deliver the Arms and Ammunition," (George Washington to Jean B. Ternant, September 24, 1791 The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799. John C. Fitzpatrick, Editor.--vol. 31 Mount Vernon, September 24, 1791.)
The Republicans, headed by Jefferson, began to detach themselves from the cause of the French Revolution after 1793, and especially from 1795 on. But this was not because Jefferson and the rest of them were belatedly experiencing some form of revulsion against excesses which they had systematically condoned (often by denying their existence) at the time of their perpetration. The detachment of the Republicans from the French Revolution was the result of a growing perception in 1794-95, that the enthusiasm for the French Revolution, among the American people, was cooling. It was cooling not because of those excesses--which were at their worst during the period when Americans (other than Federalists) were most enthusiastic about the French Revolution—but because of developments in the United States itself and in a neighboring territory, Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Those developments included Citizen Genet's interference in the affairs of the United States and the simultaneous victory of the black slaves in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) and ensuing massacre and dispersion of the whites. The exact nature of the connection between the black insurrection and the French Revolution remains open to argument. But it would have been hard for the slaveowners to remain enthusiastic for the French Revolution after February 1794 when the French National Convention, then dominated by Robespierre, decreed the emancipation of all slaves, both in the dominions of the French Republic and of Great Britain (which had included, up to 1783, the American colonies). The emancipating Act of February 1794 was probably not the least of "the atrocities of Robespierre" in the eyes of Virginia slaveowners, including Thomas Jefferson. After these events--and especially after Washington's withering stigmatization of the Republican and Democratic Societies in December 1794--Jefferson and his colleagues realized that the cause of the French Revolution, formerly a major political asset to them in the United States, had now become a liability. So they cut their losses. They never repudiated the French Revolution--still cherished by many of their rank-and-file--but it was as if this part of their political stock-in-trade had been removed from the front window. You could still get it, but only if you asked for it; as some of Jefferson's correspondents did. (Conor Cruise O'Brien , The Long Affair: Thomas Jefferson and the French Revolution, 1785-1800, published by the University of Chicago Press. 1996, from )
George Washington wrote Jean Baptiste de Tenant, the French minister, in September 1791, promising to lose no time in dispatching orders to furnish money and arms requested by the French government to quell the revolt. "I am happy in the opportunity of testifying how well disposed the United states are to render every aid in their power to our good friends and Allies the French to quell 'the alarming insurrection of the Negroes in Hispanola' and of the ready disposition to effect it, of the Executive authority thereof." In fact the administration bowed immediately to French requests that portions of the Revolutionary War debt still owed to France by the United States be used to aid French efforts to put down the revolt and provision the colony.[note 49] Strongly supported by the Washington administration with money and arms and by public opinion in the United States, thousands of refugees fled to the United States, settling in seaboard cities, where their tales of the death and destruction left in the path of the rebelling slaves appalled Americans in the north and fed southern paranoia.[note 50] (Washington to Ternant, 24 Sept. 1791, Arch. Aff., Etrang., Memoirs et Documents, Etats-Unis, Paris. For the role of the French refugees in influencing public opinion in the United States, see Catherine Hebert, "French Publications in Philadelphia in the Age of the French Revolution," Pennsylvania History, 58 (1992), 37-61 and Allan J. Barthold, "French Journalists in the United States, 1780-1800," The Franco-American Review, 1 (1937), 215-30. See also, "Slavery in Virginia and Saint-Domingue in the Late Eighteenth Century," Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, 1990, pp. 13-14; Carl A. Brasseaux, The Road to Louisiana: The Saint Domingue Refugees, 1792-1809 (Lafayette, La., 1992). For the use of the American debt to France, see George Latimer to Alexander Hamilton, 2 Jan. 1793, introductory note, in Harold C. Syrett et al., eds., The Papers of Alexander Hamilton (New York, 1961-87), 13:443-45. For background to the slave revolt, see Carolyn E. Fick, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below (Knoxville, Tenn., 1990), esp. ch. 3.; Frances Sergeant Childs, French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800 (Baltimore, 1940), 11-16; Thomas Fiehrer, "Saint-Domingue/Haiti: Louisiana's Caribbean Connection," Louisiana History, 30 (1989), 426-27. Recounted in "That Species of Property": Washington's Role in the Controversy Over Slavery by Dorothy Twohig Originally Presented at a Conference on Washington and Slavery at Mount Vernon, October 1994)
According to the historian Douglas Egerton, "Jefferson was terrified of what was happening in Saint Domingue. He referred to Toussaint's army as cannibals. His fear was that black Americans, like Gabriel, would be inspired by what they saw taking place just off the shore of America. And he spent virtually his entire career trying to shut down any contact, and therefore any movement of information, between the American mainland and the Caribbean island. He called upon Congress to abolish trade between the United States and what after 1804 was the independent country of Haiti. He argued that France believed it still owned the island. In short, he denied that Haitian revolutionaries had the same right to independence and autonomy that he claimed for American patriots. And consequently, in 1805 and finally in 1806, trade was formally shut down between the United States and Haiti, which decimated the already very weak Haitian economy. And of course, Jefferson then argued this was an example of what happens when Africans are allowed to govern themselves: economic devastation, caused in large part by his own economic policies. (Douglas A. Egerton, Professor of History, Le Moyne College Public Broadcasting Service, Africans in American Resource Bank ))
1791Louisiana- Twenty-three slaves are hanged and three white sympathizers deported, following suppression of a black revolt. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
1791Philadelphia- Congress excludes blacks and Indians from peacetime militia. Kentucky is admitted as a slave state. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
1791/08/19Benjamin Banneker, a freedman from Maryland, wrote to Thomas Jefferson complaining that it was time to eradicate false racial stereotypes. While expressing doubts regarding the merits of slavery in his "Notes on Virginia", Jefferson had expressed his belief in the inferiority of the African. Banneker had educated himself, especially in mathematics and astronomy, and in 1789 he was one of those who helped to survey the District of Columbia. Later, he predicted a solar eclipse. In 1791 he had begun the publication of a series of almanacs, and the next year he sent one of these to Jefferson in an attempt to challenge his racial views. Jefferson was so impressed with the work that he sent it to the French Academy of Science. However, he seemed to view Banneker as an exception rather than fresh evidence undermining white stereotypes. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 5 A Nation Divided. The Black Experience In America Part 2, Emancipation Without Freedom. Chapter 5 A Nation Divided, Black Moderates And Black Militants)
On August 19, 1791, Benjamin Banneker wrote a lengthy letter to Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, in which "having taken up my pen in order to direct to you as a present, a copy of an Almanack... I was unexpectedly and unavoidably led" to develop a discourse on race and rights. Banneker made it a point to "freely and Cheerfully acknowledge, that I am of the African race." Though not himself a slave, Banneker encouraged Jefferson to accept "the indispensable duty of those who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature," by ending the "State of tyrannical serfdom, and inhuman captivity, to which too many of my brethren are doomed." Appealing to Jefferson's "measurably friendly and well-disposed" attitude toward blacks, Banneker presumed that he would "readily embrace every opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions which so generally prevail with respect to us." After acknowledging that by writing to Jefferson he was taking "a liberty which Seemed to me scarcely allowable," considering "the almost general prejudice and prepossession which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion," Banneker launched into a critical response to Jefferson's published ideas about the inferiority of blacks. With restrained passion, Banneker chided Jefferson and other framers of the Declaration of Independence for the hypocrisy "in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the Same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves." Citing Jefferson's own words from the Declaration -- the "Self-Evident" truth "that all men are created equal" -- Banneker challenged Jefferson and his fellows "to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to" African Americans. (Reprinted from the Public Broadcasting Service Africans in America Resource Bank.)
1791/09/09Shortly after the owners of the land selected for the capital transferred their property to the government, President Washington began to refer to the newly-created town as "the Federal City." At a meeting on September 9, 1791, the commissioners agreed that the "Federal district shall be called the ‘Territory of Columbia’ and the Federal City the ‘City of Washington.’" (The term "district" was more popularly used than "territory" and officially replaced it when the capital was incorporated in 1871.) The name "Washington" was chosen by the commissioners to honor the President. "Columbia," a feminine form of "Columbus," was popularized as a name for America in patriotic poetry and song after the Revolutionary War. The term idealized America’s qualities as a land of liberty. (Historical Society of Washington, D.C.)
1791/09/28French Constitutional Assembly abolishes slavery in France, where there are no slaves, according to the former decision of Louis the XIVth. (Chronology of the abolition of French slavery Remerciements à Pascal Boyries, Professeur d'Histoire-Géographie, au lycée Charles Baudelaire d'Annecy )
1791/12/19Maryland ceded land for District of Columbia. (Maryland Historical Chronology)
1792-99Yellow fever ravaged cities all along the east coast, including Charleston, Philadelphia, New Haven, New York, and Baltimore. The outbreak in Philadelphia in the summer of 1793 was the most severe, and most memorable. The disease was probably introduced from ships carrying French refugees who were fleeing turmoil in Santo Domingo, and then spread by mosquitoes that bred in stagnant water that in years with more rain had been waterways and canals. Ten percent of the population in that city died, about 5,000 people altogether. The new city of Washington DC was under construction at the time, and Philadelphia was the interim capital. Most of the government officials fled the city, including George Washington and the members of his cabinet. Various treatments were tried, none of them very effective, and controversy raged over the best way to prevent and treat the disease. Cold weather finally brought an end to the outbreak, in late October.(Some Historically Significant Epidemics This list was compiled largely from Encyclopedia of Plague and Pestilence, edited by George C. Kohn, and published by Facts On File, Inc., 1995)
In their response to the charges leveled against Philadelphia's black community by Mathew Carey in the wake of the 1793 yellow fever epidemic, Absalom Jones and Richard Allen referred to a "bill of mortality" published at the end of the year by the clerks and sexton of Christ Church and St. Peter's Church In addition to the baptisms and burials that took place at Christ Church and St. Peter's -- 214 of the latter due to yellow fever -- the broadside noted the number of burials among other congregations and denominations, including evidence that would "convince any reasonable man ... that as many colored people died in proportion as others." (Public Broadcasting Service, Africans in America Resource Bank,)
Cornerstone of White House laid in Masonic Ceremony. James Hoban, a native of Ireland, a devout Romanist (Catholic) and Freemason was engaged to supervise the construction of the Capitol building and the "President's House" both of which he had designed. In the year following the laying of The White House corner stone, 1793, James Hoban became first Worshipful Master of the first regularly chartered lodge in the new city of Washington, Lodge No. 15 of Maryland (now Federal Lodge No. 1 of the District of Columbia). As of December 20, 1794, he was recorded as Treasurer of the lodge, and he was closely identified with the first activities of Royal Arch Masonry in the city of Washington. (R. Baker Harris, The Laying of the Corner Stone of the White House, Potomac Lodge No. 5, Georgetown, 1949, this and other books on Freemasonry can be found at the Scottish Rite Library in Washington, DC)
Under the leadership of Captain Hoban, a group of the brethren residing in the city of Washington, most of them operative masons engaged in the work of constructing public buildings, decided to establish a lodge nearer to their homes and thus avoid the necessity of journeying to Georgetown for their Masonic communications. This group, in the summer of 1793, petitioned Lodge No. 9 for dispensation to hold lodge meeting in the Federal City (in a room in the dwelling of one of their number , on New Jersey Avenue just south of the Capitol). On September 12, 1793, a charter was granted to these brethren, creating Lodge No. 15 (now Federal Lodge No. 1) (A Century and a Half of Freemasonry in Georgetown, 1789-1939, Potomac Lodge No. 5, F.A.A.M., Georgetown DC, 1939)
This Lodge was funded by Freemasons brought to the new city to engage in the erection of the public buildings. Chief among them was James Hoban, architect of the Executive Mansion and the Capitol. "Captain Hoban, as he was usually called, was a quick-tempered though generous man, and his professional life at the capital was stormy, despite its success. He took a large view of his won authority, had a high regard for his own opinion, and despite official poverty and parsimony, obtained emoluments fitted to his standing as an architect and the dignity of the works entrusted to his supervision. His designs and proportions for the Executive mansion were deemed too pricey for a young republic by President Washington, but in the end the architect prevailed over the statesman. His first work at the Capitol was to tear out the rotten foundations that private greed and official suppleness had placed there, and influence, entreaty, and clamor were alike powerless to stay his had or tongue. From 1792 till towards 1820, captain Hoban was variously engaged upon the public buildings, though his employment at the Capitol ceased as early as 1802, after one of his numerous controversies with the Commissioners for the Federal City. The latest of his more important works was the restoration of the Executive Mansion, which had been partially destroyed by the British forces in 1814. Its popular name of the White House is due to his thought of painting the brownstone forming the exterior walls, to conceal the discoloration by smoke and fire. He served the Lodge as its first master, and afterwards as treasurer, but in a few years his name had disappeared from its rolls. There is no record of the reason for his withdrawal, nor is the occurrence rare enough to call for inquiry or conjecture. In 1799, he was High Priest of the Royal Arch Encampment formed within Federal Lodge, and he and the encampment disappeared together in that year. Clot Worthy Stephenson was second master of the Lodge, and for a few years was active and conspicuous in Masonic affairs; then fell into obscurity, and apparently into narrow circumstances, and died in 1819." (Charles F. Benjamin, A History of Federal Lodge No 1.contained in the by-laws of Federal Lodge, No. 1 Free and Accepted masons of the District of Columbia with a History of the Lodge, 1901 Gibson Bros., Washington, DC)
Also in the Lodge was Andrew Eastave, first junior warden; William Coghlan, second senior warden; Bernard Crook, second junior warden, and James Dogherty, first secretary, all founders of the Lodge, of whom no other knowledge remains than that they were employed in the construction of the Capitol. (Charles F. Benjamin, A History of Federal Lodge No 1.contained in the By-laws of Federal Lodge, No. 1 Free and Accepted masons of the District of Columbia with a History of the Lodge, 1901 Gibson Bros., Washington, DC)
"In 1796, Stephenson became Grand Marshal of the lodge, but his business affairs were getting into bad conditions . In November, 1997, he was summoned to appear before the Grand Lodge, at its half yearly meeting in May, 1798, to show cause why he had not paid a complaining brother the rent for the ferry he had leased on the Potomac. He did not appear, and his active career in masonry ended with 1798. Past Master Hoban succeeded Stephenson as High Priest of the Royal Arch Encampment in 1798, but the seeds of dissolution were already in it, and the Encampment died in the early part of 1799, and with it the Masonic life of Captain Hoban. The Lodge, too, was in bad condition; the fervid and pervading nature of Stephenson having so linked its fortunes with his won that, when he went down, the Lodge, for a time shared his decline." (Charles F. Benjamin, A History of Federal Lodge No 1.contained in the By-laws of Federal Lodge, No. 1 Free and Accepted masons of the District of Columbia with a History of the Lodge, 1901 Gibson Bros., Washington, DC)
George Washington a member of Alexandria Masonic Lodge No. 22 took the first step into Masonry on November 4, 1752 in Fredericksburg. (Charles H. Callahan, Washington, The man and the Mason, George Washington Masonic National memorial Association, 1913)
L'Enfant dismissed. Competition announced for design for Capitol; Dr. William Thornton submits design after deadline. (U.S. Capital web Page Chronology )
The final design selected for the Capitol was submitted (late) by William Thornton, a physician living in the British West Indies. Three different architects worked on the building since the cornerstone was laid by President George Washington on September 18, 1793. The third architect, James Hoban, worked on the project from the dismissal of his predecessors (Stephen Hallet and George Hadfield) until 1800. In 1803, Benjamin Henry Latrobe picked up where Hoban left off; he left the construction project in 1813 when funding became erratic. (The Capitol Building, DC City Pages)
After Collen Williamson, a Scottish stone mason, was fired from his job supervising the stone work on the public buildings, he complained about the Irish and their slaves. The Irishman who engineered his dismissal, James Hoban, had his own slaves working on the public payroll. Hoban replaced Williamson with an Irishman who demanded that the commissioners supply 14 slaves to assist his crew of 18 masons. Williamson fumed to President John Adams that 12 blacks could not do the work of two good hands and that because of Hoban's "Irish vagbons.... there is nothing here but fighting, lying and stealing."
Williamson complaints were widely held and to make peace with men still on the job, the commissioners banned the employment of slaves in the way Hoban had done, which did not leave the slaves unemployed. There was other work to do in the city. The commissioner's ban did not bring peace. An Irish carpenter assaulted Samuel Smallwood, the overseer of slaves. Smallwood worried to the commissioners that if the Irishman went unpunished, "how do I know but a certain class of people may entice even the blacks to commit depredations." (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History )
The Capitol of the United States crowns Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and houses the legislative branch of government, comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate. The 1792 competition for its design was won by Dr. William Thornton, a gifted amateur architect, with a Palladian-inspired scheme featuring a central shallow-domed rotunda flanked by the Senate (north) and House (south) wings. President George Washington laid the cornerstone in 1793, but construction proceeded slowly under a succession of architects, including Stephen Hallet (1793), George Hadfield (1795-98) and James Hoban (1798-1802), architect of the White House, who completed the Senate wing in 1800. Benjamin Latrobe, a major architect of early 19th-century America, took over in 1803; by 1811 he had renovated the Senate wing and completed the House wing. The Capitol was burned by British troops in 1814; in the following year Latrobe began its reconstruction and redesign. Charles BULFINCH, the brilliant Boston architect who succeeded him in 1818, completed the building, with only slight modifications of Latrobe's master plan, in 1830. (The Capitol of the United States)
The cornerstone was laid by President Washington in the building's southeast corner on September 18, 1793, with Masonic ceremonies. Work progressed under the direction of three architects in succession. Stephen H. Hallet (an entrant in the earlier competition) and George Hadfield were eventually dismissed by the Commissioners because of inappropriate design changes that they tried to impose; James Hoban, the architect of the White House, saw the first phase of the project through to completion. (The History of the U.S. Capitol, Architect of the Capitol)
George Washington was escorted by two lodges from Alexandria Virginia and from Georgetown and were met by Lodge No. 15, headed by the Worshipful grand master Pro tem of Maryland (Brother Joseph Clark Worshipful master of Lodge No. 15 at Annapolis) and conducted to a large lodge for reception. Soon thereafter, under direction of brother C. Worthy Stephenson, Grand Marshal Pro Tem (Lodge no. 15) the entire procession marched to abreast from the President's square to the Capitol. (A Century and a Half of Freemasonry in Georgetown, 1789-1939, Potomac Lodge No. 5, F.A.A.M., Georgetown DC, 1939)
In the early part of the 1800's William Thornton, architect of the United States Capitol and a supporter of African recolonization of freed enslaved Americans of African descent. The American Colonization Society (ACS) was formed in 1817 to send free African-Americans to Africa as an alternative to emancipation in the United States. In 1822, the society established on the west coast of Africa a colony that in 1847 became the independent nation of Liberia. By 1867, the society had sent more than 13,000 emigrants. Beginning in the 1830s, the society was harshly attacked by abolitionists, who tried to discredit colonization as a slaveholder's scheme. And, after the Civil War, when many blacks wanted to go to Liberia, financial support for colonization had waned. During its later years the society focussed on educational and missionary efforts in Liberia rather than emigration. (Library of Congress, African-American Mosaic, Colonization)
"In 1816 the American Colonization Society was founded. It was considered the ideal solution to the American racial dilemma. Claiming to be interested in the welfare of the African in its midst, the Society advocated colonizing in Africa or wherever else it was expedient. It comforted slave owners by announcing that it was not concerned with either emancipation or amelioration. Both were outside its jurisdiction. It did imply that slaves might eventually be purchased for colonization. Most of its propaganda tried to demonstrate that the freedman lived in a wretched state of poverty, immorality, and ignorance and that he would be better off in Africa. The movement received widespread support from almost all sectors of the white community including presidents Madison and Jackson. Several state legislatures supported the idea, and Congress voted $100,000 to finance the plan which eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of Liberia. However, the Afro-American community was not very enthusiastic about the project. In 1817 three thousand blacks crowded into the Bethel Church in Philadelphia and, led by Richard Allen, vehemently criticized colonization. They charged that the Society's propaganda only served to increase racial discrimination since it stressed the poverty and ignorance of the freedman and claimed he was doomed to continue in his filth and degradation because of his natural inferiority. It also argued that whites would only take advantage of the Afro-American, and that the separation of the two races was the only solution. The participants at the Bethel meeting contended that this propaganda tended to justify racial discrimination. The claim was also made that the removal of freedmen from America would only serve to make the slave system more secure, and they pledged themselves never to abandon their slave brothers. Besides, while they were African by heritage, they had been born in America, and it was now their home. Most of the fifteen thousand who did return to Africa were slaves who had been freed for this purpose, and the project was acknowledged to be a failure. The Society's own propaganda contributed to the alienation of many freedmen. One of its own leaders admitted that blacks could read and hear and, when they were spoken of as a nuisance to be banished, they reacted negatively like men." (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. Chapter 4, Growing Racism,
The Sierra Leone Company, for instance, envisioned African laborers "liberated" from their traditional societies and social leadership and busy producing raw material for British manufacture and consumption. The same laborers were to become consumers of British finished goods. The "legitimate trade" campaign actually strengthened the institution of slavery in areas where goods for the Atlantic trade could be produced. The goods were produced and transported not by independent farmers but often by slaves. The first generation of Americo-Liberian settlers knew this and sought to take advantage of it. From its inception in the 1820s, Liberia was meant to be a commercial colony utilizing cheap African labor. Despite the rhetoric of carrying civilization and religion to the natives and undermining the slave trade, the Americo-Liberians and their white supporters envisioned Monrovia as an entree port that would shuttle American goods (including such slave-produced goods as tobacco, along with whiskey, cloth, glassware, and guns) to Africans while returning African goods (including such goods as palm oil, camwood, and ivory, harvested and transported to the coast by slaves) to the United States. Records of the blacks and whites who traveled to Liberia in the 1820s under the aegis of the American Colonization Society reveal that they knew that slave labor could produce tremendous wealth and had few compunctions about dealing in slave-produced material even if they opposed the Atlantic slave trade. The violent disagreements between the Americo-Liberian settlers and the native groups, beginning in the mid-1820s, are usually described as disputes about land possession, but it is at least as likely that they were disputes about the misuse of local laborers by the settlers. Even less fortunate than the locals who ended up working for the settlers were the "recaptives," who were rescued from slavers at sea only to be indentured to Americo-Liberian settlers. A tradition of the misuse of laborers would of course result in the investigation in the 1920s by the League of Nations the result of which was that Liberian officials were condemned for profiting from the unfree labor of indigenous people. (Review of Tunde Adeleke, Unafrican Americans: Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalists and the Civilizing Mission, Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1998. xv + 192 pp. Bibliographical references and index. $24.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-8131-2056-X. Reviewed for H-Shear by John Saillant, Western Michigan University
1792Federal District formed east of Rock Creek from Prince Georges County and West of Rock Creek from Montgomery Co (The Montgomery County Historical Society)
On recommendation of President Washington, Thornton awarded first prize in competition. Washington lays cornerstone. (U.S. Capital web Page Chronology)
1793The federal government did not have the resources to build a capital. The taxes it raised with its new power to tax imports had to be used to service the revolutionary war debt. To get the money to build, federal leaders relied on competition among those states who wanted the capital. Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, all in the running because of their central positions in the new nation, offered money for construction of the capital. By choosing a place on the Potomac River, both Virginia and Maryland would contribute.
Those two states were not rich enough to afford to fund the complete construction of a new city. But Americans were quite experienced in city building. They understood that as land was developed it increased in value. Congress left it up to George Washington to pick the site of capital along the Potomac. Washington looked for a situation in which he could forge a partnership with land owners to mutually profit from the development of the capital. Of course, the profit accruing to the government would be used to build the public buildings necessary to house the government.
Washington looked at a few sites along the Potomac. A major advantage of the site he chose was that it was between two prosperous cities, Georgetown, Maryland, and Alexandria, Virginia, and that there were a good number of ambitious landowners eager to profit from the development of their land. These men, the original proprietors, offered to let the government take all of their land that was needed for the new city, with the understanding that they would be allowed to keep enough of it to profit handsomely from the sale of lots.
So in March 1791 Washington and the proprietors made a deal in which the government paid about $80 an acre for all the land it took for public buildings and grounds; divided all the remaining land into building lots; and let the proprietors own half of the building lots. From this arrangement the government expected to raise from $1 to $4 million dollars, and the proprietors each felt assured of immense wealth to be realized in a matter of a few years.
There remained one problem that was a constant problem in the early days of the country: labor. How could public buildings dwarfing in size any buildings that had ever been built in the new country be made without an ample supply of workmen? Both Virginia and Maryland were rich in slave labor. More African Americans lived in those states than in any other area of the country. Indeed, there was a surplus of slaves. Of course, skilled workers from Europe who did have experience with large buildings and from the northern US where cities were better built than in the south would be essential. But a large supply of slaves would keep a check on the wage demands of the white who came to the city to work. (What Does "Washington History" Mean and How Did It Begin? From Bob Arnebeck's Page on Early Washington History )
1793/01/05Letter to Thomas Jefferson from District Commissioners (Th. Johnson, D. Stuart and Dan. Carroll) discuss need for labor for Capitol Building Construction, " as to laborers, a part of whom we can easily make up of Negroes and find it proper to do so. Those we have employed this Summer have proved very useful check & kept our Affairs Cool." (Spelling and capitalization just as reprinted in Thomas Jefferson and the National Capital, 1783-1818, United States Department of Interior, US GPO, 1946. Pages 165-169 taken from PP 139-41 Commissioners Letterbook, Vol. I, 1791-1793 in the National Archives. RG 42, Microfilm M371)
The commissioners strategy of using slaves to check white laborers did not work. Wages continued to rise. By 1800 carpenters were getting $2 a day. Worse still, the commissioners seemed to lose control of their work force. In 1795 after the foundation work done by Irish masons on the Capitol collapsed ruining the work of almost half the building season, the commissioners deflected intimations that their lax supervision was at fault. "Those not acquainted with the motley set [of workers] we found here," they wrote to the secretary of state, "and who from necessity have too many of them been still continued in public employment can form no adequate idea of the irksome scenes we are too frequently compelled to engage in." With three commissioners supervising no more than 250 employees, it was conceivable that they could known each worker by name. But such paternalism became the norm only years later when instead of lawyers and gentlemen supervising such projects, engineers and men who had worked with their hands did. (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History )
Commissioners to Blodget Jan 5th We may have a good many Negro laborers none so good for cutting before the Surveyors and none better for tending masons. Captain Williamson tells us he could not have done without them the Summer, they were a check on the white laborers who well indeed only at price work. From Johnson, Stuart and Carroll. (National Archives, RG 42. Records of the Office of Public Buildings and Public Parks of the National Capital, Copies of Letterbooks of letters sent by the Commissioners for the District of Columbia, 1791-98, Box 1 entry 104 Volume 3)
The erratic returns from the tobacco culture and the increasing diversification of crops in the western countries of Maryland and Virginia made slave owners only happy to meet the labor demands for building the Capital by hiring out their surplus slaves. A great portion f the labor on public works was performed by slaves; the work force which build the Capitol itself was made up for the most part of a group of 90 slaves hired for that purpose. (Captain Basil Hall, Travels in North America in the Years 1827-1828 in Three volumes (Edinburgh, 1829) II 46; Robert Sutcliff, Travels in Some Parts of North America, In the Years 1804, 1805 and 1806 (York, 1815), 112, as cited by Letitia W Brown, Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860, Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC, 1969-70, p 67-68)
Free labor had a bad reputation in the Potomac Valley. The Potomac Company, which was clearing the river and building canals around falls that obstructed free navigation, initially hired free labor, principally Irish emigrants, but they frequently ran out of their work contracts. The company peppered newspapers in the valley with ads offering rewards for return of the laborers. To fill the breach, Thomas Johnson, then the company president, hired slaves. Johnson was the leading city commissioner. The 25 or so slaves the commissioners hired in 1792 principally served as axe-men and grubbers opening a portion of K and other streets so that stages to and from Georgetown would run through the city, not north on the old road on the ridge overlooking the city site. In September the cornerstone of the president's house was laid. While real work would not begin until the next April, masons began preparing stone, which slaves hauled up from boats that came from Virginia quarries. At year's end the commissioners bragged that they "could not have done without" slaves. "They ere a check on the white laborers." By 1797 they would rent 125 slaves to work in the city. (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck's Page on Early Washington History)
The major supplier of slaves was Edmund Plowden, who lived in St. Mary's county and owned 64 slaves. His Moses, Len, Jim, and Arnold worked at the president's house. His Gerard, Tony and Jack worked at the Capitol. In December 1794 laborers were paid 45 shillings a month, about $6. So Plowden made $42 a month without obligation except to provide his slaves a blanket.
There were middlemen who formed crews of slaves and offered them to the commissioners. in November 1794 John Slye applied to be an overseer claiming "his friends... have engaged to hire to the city thirty valuable Negro men slaves." Slye had previously worked for the Potomac Company and had brought 20 slaves to work for that company. The commissioners did not pass up Slye's offer and hired him to oversee laborers at the president's house for $15 a month. What percentage Slye took of the annual rental made by the 30 slaves he brought to the city is not known. Some slaves did not work out of sight of their masters because their masters also worked for the city. Middleton Belt who supervised the overseers rented two slaves he owned, Peter at the Capitol, and Jack at the president's house. Even one of the commissioners, Gustavus Scott, rented two slaves, Bob and Kitt who worked at the president's house. (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck's Page on Early Washington History )
1793 Eli Whitney’s cotton gin will increase U.S. cotton planting, producing an increased demand for slave labor. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
In 1793 Eli Whitney, working as a tutor on a Georgia plantation, invented the cotton gin. This machine, which separates the seeds from the cotton, makes the production of cotton easier and its sale price much lower. Cotton growing on a large scale (it was grown earlier in small amounts) spread widely in the South and became yet another cornerstone in Southern culture and land use. (Compton's Encyclopedia Online)
U.S. cotton production will rise from 140,000 pounds in 1791 to 35 million pounds in 1800 as the efficiency of the Whitney cotton gin leads to rapid growth of cotton planting in the South and a boom in northern and English cotton mills. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
The price of slaves increased as cotton production proved profitable on the Southern frontier reversing the efforts to encourage emancipation that had begun between the American Revolution and before the War of 1812. (See William Cooper Nell, The Colored Patriots of the American Revolution (Boston: Robert F. Wallcut, 1855) and Sidney Kaplan, The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, 1770-1800 (Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1973), 10-13. Cited in The Underground Railroad In American History )
The Rise Of Cotton: Before the 1790s Slavery seemed to be a dying institution. Most Northern states had set emancipation in motion and in the Chesapeake states of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware, the philosophy of the American Revolution - the idea that all men were created equal, with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - also motivated planters to free their slaves. Of crucial importance to the act of freeing slaves in the Chesapeake was the decline of tobacco. Years of overplanting had left the land worn out. As farmers produced less tobacco and turned instead to more profitable grains their need for large numbers of slaves decreased. Rather than assume the cost of caring for their slaves, many farmers freed them instead. ("Let My People Go - African Americans 1804-1860", Deborah Gray white, p. 15.)
But the introduction of cotton, which increase the demand for slaves south of the Chesapeake, caused a hurried change in attitude. Before the turn of the 19th century, there was little cotton production in the South. Eli Whitney's cotton gin changed that, and with it also the history of Black America. The cotton gin made the production of the heartier short-staple cotton profitable. Before the invention of the cotton gin it took a slave a day to clean a pound of the short-staple cotton. With the gin, by contrast, the slave could clean up to 50 pounds a day. . ("Let My People Go - African Americans 1804-1860", Deborah Gray white, p. 15.)
Between 1790 and 1860, about one million slaves were moved west, almost twice the number of Africans shipped to the United States during the whole period of the transatlantic slave trade. Some slaves moved with their masters and others moved as part of a new domestic trade in which owners from the seaboard states sold slaves to planters in the cotton-growing states of the new Southwest. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
After the invention of the cotton gin, the yield of raw cotton doubled each decade after 1800. Demand was fueled by other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, such as the machines to spin and weave it and the steamboat to transport it. By mid-century America was growing three-quarters of the world's supply of cotton, most of it shipped to England or New England where it was manufactured into cloth. During this time tobacco fell in value, rice exports at best stayed steady, and sugar began to thrive, but only in Louisiana. At mid-century the South provided three-fifths of America's exports -- most of it in cotton. (Joan Brodsky Schur, Village Community School, New York, NY. National Archives and Records Administration The Constitution Community, Eli Whitney's Patent for the Cotton Gin 1999)
Short-staple cotton, unlike long-staple cotton, also had the advantage of not being so delicate. It could be, and was, planted all over the land south of Virginia. And it was in demand throughout the world. It was not long before cotton became the principal cash crop of the South and of the nation. In 1790 the South produced only 3,135 bales of cotton. On the eve of the Civil War, production peaked at 4.8 million bales. Once cotton gave slavery a new lease on life, slaves who were of no use in the Upper South were not set free but sold to the Lower South. That meant that a good many slaves were born in Virginia, Maryland or South Carolina, were likely to die in Mississippi, Alabama or Louisiana. The sale and transportation of Black people within the Unites States thus became big business. ("Let My People Go - African Americans 1804-1860", Deborah Gray White, pp.16-18.) ( Select here for a graph of Virginia Slave exports by Age and Sex of Slave Exports maintained by the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia)
What slaves hated most about slavery was not the hard work to which they were subjected, but their lack of control over their lives, their lack of freedom ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.) No state law recognized marriage among slaves, masters rather than parents had legal authority over slave children, and the possibility of forced separation, through sale, hung over every family. These separations were especially frequent in the slave-exporting states of the upper South. ("Slavery in the United States," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
1793/02/12Fugitive Slave Act becomes a federal law. Allows slaveowners, their agents or attorneys to seize fugitive slaves in free states and territories.
The Fugitive Slave Act voted by Congress at Philadelphia February 12 makes it illegal for anyone to help a slave escape to freedom or give a runaway slave refuge (see Underground Railway, 1838). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf also see here for the document)
1793/12/28Bank of Columbia chartered by Maryland legislature. Among the founders were William Deakins, JR, Uriah Forest and Benjamin Stoddert. (p 223 Bryan, Wilhelmus Bogart. The History of the National Capital. Vol. I 1790-1814 Macmillan 1916 GW lib)
To package land near Georgetown, (George) Washington chose two prominent Georgetown landowner., Benjamin Stoddert and William Deakins. To prod them to get the best deal, he told them that he was debating whether to put the public buildings near Rock Creek or near the Anacostia. Stoddert felt that failure to get the public buildings next to Georgetown would ruin his extensive land speculations in the area. Stoddert was soon frustrated by the intransigence of David Burnes who owned the land from the foot of Capitol Hill almost to Foggy Bottom. Burnes had signed the November pledge, had offered most of his 650 acres but insisted on retaining 100 acres undivided. By doing that he forced Stoddert to offer him a $2,660 bribe (a good year' salary in those days) in return for allowing the president the pick of all his land. (Select here to see document) (Washington’s Biggest Mistake, Washington From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History )
1793An approximated 18,000 or 19,000 of a total of 73,417 Baptists are black. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/)
1793Virginia- Passage of a state law which forbids free blacks from entering the state. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1794Haitian slaves in the French colony of Saint Domingue (Haiti) on Hispaniola rise under the leadership of Pierre Dominque Toussaint L’Ouverture, 51, Jean Jacques Dessalines, 36, and Henri Christophe, 27. They lead 500,000 blacks and mulattos against the colony’s 40,000 whites (see 1802). (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
1794/02/04French decree of pluviôse 16 year II abolishing slavery (French revolutionary calendar starts on September 22nd 1792, first day of the Republic) (Chronology of the abolition of French slavery Remerciements à Pascal Boyries, Professeur d'Histoire-Géographie, au lycée Charles Baudelaire d'Annecy)
1794/03/22The United States House and Senate Approved An Act to Prohibit the Carrying on the Slave Trade from the United States to any Foreign Place or Country. (United States Statutes at Large Volume 2. Text at http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/statutes/slavery/sl001.htm The Avalon Project : Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery)
1794/09/12President Washington appointed William Thornton one of the three Commissioners of the Federal District in charge of laying out the new federal city and overseeing construction of the first government buildings, including the Capitol. Upon the abolition of the board in 1802, President Jefferson appointed Thornton Superintendent of the Patent Office, a position which he held until his death.
William Thornton was born May 20, 1759, in Jost van Dyke, West Indies. He died: March 28, 1828, Washington, D.C. The design was selected by President George Washington in 1793
Educated in Scotland as a physician, Thornton rarely practiced his profession. He was a self-taught architect, painter, and inventor. His design for the Capitol, submitted after the competition of 1792 had closed, was approved by President Washington, who praised it for its "grandeur, simplicity and convenience." A prize of $500 and a city lot was awarded to Thornton on April 5, 1793; he is thus recognized as the first Architect of the Capitol. (Architect of the Capital Home page)
In the British Virgin Islands, the remains of the great house of Doctor William Thornton (designer of the U.S. Capitol Building) can be seen at Pleasant Valley (Tortola). The ravages of time and neglect have reduced it considerably, but the remains can still be viewed with interest including a part of the foundation. Besides being an accomplished architect, Dr Thornton was a skilled physician and a fervent Quaker. Sugar and Rum was the main business on Tortola. During the early 1830s a visitor described the Mount Healthy sugar works as follows: It was here that the lash of the whip first sounded in our ears; and, although we were satisfied as we passed onward, and beheld the carts drawn by oxen conveying the canes to the mill from the spot to which they had been conveyed by roughs, that the sound proceeded from the whips of the boys driving the, the conviction was too powerfully associated with the prepossession which had been long established on our mind, that there was little distinction recognized between the Negroes and the cattle. (Giorgio Migliavacca, Historic Sites & Visitors Attractions, Sun Enterprises (BVI) Ltd.British Virgin Islands Homepage)
1795Louisiana- More slave uprising are suppressed with some 50 blacks killed and executed.(Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1795/07Money was in short supply to build the Capitol, "Thornton came up with an idea to get obedient and cheap masons: buy '50 intelligent Negroes' and train them to do the stonework. Two of three experienced men could be induced with a wage of up to $4 a day to train and supervise the slaves. As an incentive for the slaves, who would only get room, board and clothing, the commissioners would give them their freedom in five of six years. Although nothing came of the idea, it highlights how uncomfortable the commissioners were with free labor. They preferred workers who could make no demands and who were beholden to them for everything they knew." (Thornton to Commissioners, July 18, 1795. Proceedings, July 22, 1795. Cited on P302 Bob Arnebeck, "Through A Fiery Trial, Building Washington, 1790-1800," Madison Books, MD. 1991)
1795Virginia- George Washington advertises for the return of one of his slaves, stipulating that the notice for his retrieval not be run north of Virginia. This same year, John Adams writes: "I have never owned a Negro or any other slave (even) when it has cost me thousands of dollars for the labor and sustenance of free men, which I might have saved by the purchase of Negroes at times when they were very cheap." (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
In 1795 Georgetown enacted an ordinance banning the congregation of more than 5 slaves in public with punishment of 39 lashes for the slaves and a $13 fine for their masters. The ordinance also punished indentured servants who were principally Irish emigrants. (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History)
1797John Adams becomes President as Federalist, VP Thomas Jefferson 1801
1797/03George Washington leaves office. Although Washington reluctantly accepted command of the army in 1798 when war with France seemed imminent, he did not assume an active role. He preferred to spend his last years in happy retirement at Mount Vernon. In mid-December, Washington contracted what was probably quinsy or acute laryngitis; he declined rapidly and died at his estate on Dec. 14, 1799. (George Washington, Composite from Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, I Love Washington Guide, by Marilyn J. Appleberg and The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia in )
1797/08During his presidency, Washington seems to have concluded that slavery was absolutely incompatible with the principles of the new nation and could even cause its division. In August 1797 he wrote,"...I wish from my soul that the legislature of [Virginia] could see a policy of a gradual Abolition of Slavery..." Two years later, Washington revised his will, providing for his slaves to be freed after his death 122 of the 314 African Americans at Mount Vernon were freed; the others were Martha's and by law owned by her heirs. He also left instructions for their care and education which included supporting the young until they came of age and paying pensions to the elderly. (For more information, select here)
Not only did George Washington still need slaves to work his own plantation, he must have been at least somewhat aware that much of the golden age of economic and social expansion in the Chesapeake had rested on black slavery. Washington himself was an avid partaker in the "Anglicization" of Chesapeake society with its emphasis on creature comforts, and the acquisition of consumer goods, much of which was dependent on a slave economy. (See Lois Green Carr and Lorena Seebach Walsh, "Changing Life Styles and Consumer Behavior in the Colonial Chesapeake," in Cary Carson et al., eds., Of Consuming Interests: The Style of Life in the Eighteenth Century (Charlottesville, Va., 1994; Timothy H. Breen, "An Empire of Goods: The Anglicization of Colonial America, 1690-1776," Journal of British Studies, 25 (1986), 467-99. (The Papers of George Washington "That Species of Property": Washington's Role in the Controversy Over Slavery Dorothy Twohig, Originally Presented at a Conference on Washington and Slavery at Mount Vernon, October 1994.)
Many of the Americans of African descent that were enslaved by George Washington settled close by Mount Vernon in Gum Springs Virginia. Gum Springs was founded by the patriarchal Freedman, West Ford, whose bones rest near George Washington's at Mount Vernon. It was named after a gum tree that once marked the marshy land, highly prized for farming in the past. Quietly nestled across the river on George Washington's side of the Potomac, Gum Springs was a place for blacks to prevail, assimilating runaways and freed slaves who migrated there by way of the nearby port of Alexandria. Many of its forbearers tended General Washington's estate at Mount Vernon before they were freed at the death of his wife, Martha. Freed slaves found assistance from Quakers in their struggle for economic survival. The skills and trades they learned as estate slaves added to their growth towards independence. Today, Gum Springs has more than 2,500 residents and as many as 500 are descendants of the original families. (A Brief History of Gum Springs, The Gum Springs Historical Society, Inc. Alexandria (Gum Springs), VA 22306 (703) 799-1198 )
1797The number of black Methodists increases to 12,215. Most of these black members are in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library http://www.ipl.org/ref/timeline/)
1798/08/08Benjamin Stoddert as Secretary of the Navy forbids the deployment of black sailors on Men of War, thus disrupting a non-racial enlistment policy, which had been operative in the Navy for many years. (The Negro Almanac a reference work on the Afro-American, compiled and edited by harry A Ploski, and Warren Marr, II. Third Edition 1978 Bellwether Publishing for the document see MacGregor and Halty, Blacks in the United States Armed Forces: Basic Documents, Vol. 1 Page 95, Scholarly Resources Inc. 1977)
Washington D.C.- Secretary of the Navy Stoddert forbids the deployment of black sailors on men-of-war, thus disrupting a nonracial enlistment policy which had been operative in the Navy for many years. Nevertheless, a few blacks slip past the ban, including William Brown, a "powder monkey" on the Constellation and George Diggs, quartermaster of the schooner Experiment. Enlistments in the Marine Corps are also forbidden. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
Tenantry made land speculation possible. Large investments in land, were possible only because tenants could take up part of the track almost immediately and bring a return to the investor. Many investors were always absentee owners. Those how did live on the lands they owned normally farmed only a very small portion of their lands with their own slaves or indentured laborers. Tenantry became the rule as the advantages of leasing land far outweighed the disadvantages of developing large plantations. (page 15 general land use adapted from Richard K MacMaster and Ray Eldon Hiebert, A Grateful Remembrance, the story of Montgomery County, Maryland, Montgomery County Historical Society, 1976)
Work on building the Capital Continued, the commissioners ordered plaster from Alexandria for shipment to Georgetown, where small boats took it up Rock Creek to be milled by Isaac Pierce, and then slaves had to boil it down. (Commissioners to Dennis, May 22, 1799, June 11, 1799. Dennis to commrs. June 1, 1799. Commrs to Pierce, May 6, 1799. Proceedings, June 12, 1799 cited on p 525, Bob Arnebeck, "Through A Fiery Trial Building Washington, 1790-1800," Madison Books, 1991, p525)
1797/10/5The first American to be tried under the U.S. Slave Trade Act of 1794 came before a federal district court in Providence Road Island. John Brown, stood trial for fitting out his ship Hope for the African slave trade. The voyage had concluded profitably in Havana, Cuba, with the sale of 229 slaves a year earlier. (Jay Coughtry, The Notorious Triangle: Rhode Island and the African Slave Trade (Philadelphia, 1981), 214–215) Brown’s accusers included his younger brother, Moses, a tireless opponent of both slavery and the slave trade since his conversion, on the eve of the American Revolution, from the family’s Baptist faith to the Society of Friends. A founding member and officer of the Abolition Society, chartered in 1789, Moses Brown had been fighting Rhode Island slave traders, including brother John, for a decade, since the passage of the largely ineffective state statute of 1787 that prohibited the trade to state residents. (Coughtry, Notorious Triangle, chapter 6. See also Mack Thompson, Moses Brown: Reluctant Reformer (Chapel Hill, 1962), 175–190.) (For Records of the Trial see Papers of the American Slave Trade, Series A: Selections from the Rhode Island Historical Society, Part 1: Brown Family Collections, Part 2: Selected Collections, University Publications of America.)
1799/12/14In mid-December, Washington contracted what was probably quinsy or acute laryngitis; he declined rapidly and died at his estate on Dec. 14, 1799. (George Washington, Composite from Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, Washington, D.C. Quick Guide, I Love Washington Guide, by Marilyn J. Appleberg and (The New Grolier Electronic Encyclopedia ))
1799Second Great Awakening begins with the Cane Ridge camp meeting. The meeting takes place in Kentucky and embraces African-Americans. Many slaves convert to Christianity. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library )
e. By 1800 the US population contained 18.9% or 1,002,037 of which only 10% were free and of which only 36,505 lived in the North, mostly New York and New Jersey. f. In 1808, the slave population exceeded 1 million. (Growth Of The Nation1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
The new Federal District had 14,093 inhabitants, 4027 of whom were Negroes. Seventy hundred and twenty six of the Negro population lived in Georgetown, another 1,244 in Alexandria and 746 in the City of Washington. While Negroes had lived in both Georgetown and Alexandria from the earliest days, anticipation of expanded economic opportunity drew additional numbers along with whites from the surrounding countryside. . (Captain Basil Hall, Travels in North America in the Years 1827-1828 in Three volumes (Edinburgh, 1829) II 46; Robert Sutcliff, Travels in Some Parts of North America, In the Years 1804, 1805 and 1806 (York, 1815), 112, as cited by Letitia W Brown, Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860, Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC, 1969-70, p 67-68)
Private builders (in Washington DC) also utilized slave labor, and since they were not faced with the daunting task of cutting and laying stone, which was done principally by emigrants trained in Europe, some builders may have relied exclusively on slave labor. Judging from his ad offering to buy or rent 10 to 15 able bodied slaves and 4 to 5 boys 14 to 17 years old, Bennett Fenwick used slaves to build Rhodes Tavern and other buildings near the White House.
The first major private building done in the city was in the southwest at 6th and N Street and 4th and N, 0 and P Streets. Large brick buildings, some still standing, were built by James Greenleaf, a Boston speculator who invested heavily in the city. There is no record of the number of slaves his contractors might have used, but some 20 temporary wooden buildings were built in the area to house workers, one of them expressly to accommodate slaves. In the middle of 4th Street trees were cut to serve as corners so that planks could be nailed up to serve as sides of a makeshift 18 by 30 foot barracks. Another stump barracks was built along P Street, 57 by 24 feet, divided into two rooms. Judging from newspaper ads, at least one slave ran away from that arrangement.
The next major spate of private building in the city was on the block formed by South Capitol Street between M and N. Robert Morris and John Nicholson, two Philadelphia speculators who bought out Greenleaf, tried to build 20 two story brick buildings. Massachusetts born William Cranch, who supervised the building, was loath to use slave labor. When he arrived in the city he advertised that "a free an would be preferred to a slave." He wanted to hire a crew of Irishmen to dig the foundations for the buildings, but when work began in July the thermometer hit 98 degrees in the shade. The Irish wilted so Cranch hired a crew of slaves instead. The hundreds of slaves in Washington living outside the traditional paternalistic system of the south were in the midst of a growing city.
Ads for runaways made no mistake about the danger. Clem and Will from Prince Georges County "were last seen on their way to the City of Washington with their broad axes and some other tools...... John from southern Virginia passed himself off as one who "had hired his time for the year and was going to the federal city for employment," When Davy fled it was "expected he will immediately make to the Federal City." Charles, an "excellent house carpenter," was suspected of working in the city.
While the rental slave market in the city gave slaves a cover for running away, absentee landlords afforded them a place to live. Of some 45 buildings that Greenleaf, Morris and Nicholson undertook to build, no more than a dozen were finished in the 1790's. European visitors to the city were taken aback to find the unfinished houses occupied by Irish laborers and blacks. The bankrupt owners of the houses did not have the withal to clear the squatters out. The city commissioners did not have the authority and the sheriff, who policed the city and all of Prince Georges County, had no inclination to do it unless some one paid him. (Slaves at the Founding. From Bob Arnebeck’s Page on Early Washington History )
1800Slave Population for DC put at 3,244 (22.7%) and white at 10,266 (71.8). Both numbers would about double by 1820. Though the population of free blacks would increase to 4,048. (From Cole, Stephanie. Changes for Mrs. Thornton’s Arther: Patterns of Domestic Service in Washington, DC, 1800-1835 Social Science History 1991 15(3): 367-379 cite to Green, Constance M (1962) Washington: Billage to Capital, 1800-1878. Princeton, NJ and Brown, Letitia Woods.) (Free Negroes in DC, 1800-1835 MA Thesis University of Florida.)
The new U.S. capital at Washington, D.C. has 2,464 residents, 623 slaves. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The population of the district was 10,066 whites, 793 free Negroes, and 3,244 slaves. (Chronology of Events in the History of the District of Columbia, Compiled by Philip Ogilvie, Deposited in the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC)
Africans and their descendants in the new United States outnumbered Europeans south of the Mason-Dixon line in 1800; in fact, close to 50 percent of all immigrants (including Europeans) to the thirteen American Colonies from 1700 to 1775 came from Africa. A forced migration of these proportions had an enormous impact on societies and cultures throughout the Americas and produced a diasporic community of peoples of African descent. Jerome S. Handler.( Background and Objectives, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and Public Policy.)
1800William Thornton listed with three slaves out of a total household of 8. (DC Census 1800 roll # 5 microprint 0031)
1800Gabriel’s Insurrection inspires Virginians to support plans for black emigration to Africa. A conspiracy organized by the slave "General Gabriel" to attack Richmond comes to light, Gov. James Monroe orders in federal militia, they suppress the insurrection, and the ringleaders are executed. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
Gabriel Prosser plotted and was betrayed. Storm forced suspension of attack on Richmond, Va., by Prosser and some 1,000 slaves, Aug. 30. Conspiracy was betrayed by two slaves. Prosser and fifteen of his followers were hanged on Oct 7. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
Prosser, Gabriel (circa 1776-1800), American leader of an aborted slave uprising, whose intention was to create a free black state in Virginia. Born near Richmond, he was the son of an African mother who instilled in him the love of freedom. Inspired perhaps by the success of the black revolutionaries of Haiti, he plotted with other slaves, notably Jack Bowler, in the spring of 1800 to seize the arsenal at Richmond and kill whites. On August 30 as many as 1000 armed slaves gathered outside Richmond ready for action. A torrential downpour and thunderstorm, however, washed away a bridge vital to the insurrectionists' march; at the same time Governor James Monroe, the future president, was informed of the plot and dispatched the state militia against them. Prosser and some 35 of his young comrades were captured and hanged. ("Prosser, Gabriel," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
In August, 1800, Gabriel Prosser led a slave attack on Richmond, Virginia. During several months of careful planning and organizing, the insurrectionists had gathered clubs, swords, and other crude weapons. The intention was to divide into three columns: one to attack the penitentiary which was being used as an arsenal, another to capture the powder house, and a third to attack the city itself. If the citizens would not surrender, the rebels planned to kill all of the whites with the exception of Quakers, Methodists, and Frenchman. Apparently, Prosser and his followers shared a deep distrust of most white men. When they had gathered a large supply of guns and powder, and taken over the state's treasury, the rebels calculated, they would be able to hold out for several weeks. What they hoped for was that slaves from the surrounding territory would join them and, eventually, that the uprising would reach such proportions as to compel the whites to come to terms with them. Unfortunately for the plotters, on the day of the insurrection a severe storm struck Virginia, wiping out roads and bridges. This forced a delay of several days. In the meantime, two slaves betrayed the plot, and the government took swift action. Thirty-five of the participants, including Prosser, were executed. As the leaders refused to divulge any details of their plans, the exact number involved in the plot remains unknown. However, rumor had it that somewhere between two thousand and fifty thousand slaves were connected with the conspiracy. During the trials, one of the rebels said that he had done nothing more than what Washington had done, that he had ventured his life for his countrymen, and that he was a willing sacrifice. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, Slave Insurrections)
"...Africans and their descendants forged two distinct identities: one as Black Virginians sharing a provincial culture, and a second as African Americans sharing a fate with enslaved peoples throughout the hemisphere. Neither identity emerged before 1750. Like Michael Gomez, Michael Mullin, and Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, [see not below] James Sidbury. (Author of Book on Gabriel's Insurrection) contends that African ethnicity mattered in the New World.[ Michael A. Gomez, _Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South_ (Chapel Hill, 1998); Gwendolyn Midlo Hall, _Africans in Colonial Louisiana: The Development of Afro-Creole Culture in the Eighteenth Century_ (Baton Rouge, 1992); Michael Mullin, _Africa in America: Slave Acculturation in the American South and the British Caribbean, 1736-1831_ (Urbana, 1992)]. Virginia's slaves came from inland communities along the Bight of Biafra, where a narrow kinship system structured Igbo, Igala, and Ibibio villages. Once across the Atlantic, slaves created new but similarly localistic identities specific to a given plantation and well-suited to the dispersed geography of Virginia farms. Although slaveowners readily grouped their diverse slaves in a single racial category, "the abstract and imposed quality of racial similarity held less sway than the concrete ties of kinship and friendship that enslaved people created in Virginia's quarters" (p. 20).
To highlight the absence of racial solidarity, Sidbury points to the refusal of slaves from one locality to aid those of another in resisting their common oppressor. Ironically, the lack of a broader collective identity was itself the primary "Africanism" in early Virginia. In the half-century after 1750, four developments fostered a broader racial consciousness. First, as plantation slavery expanded into Piedmont counties, links between old and new quarters enlarged the boundaries of community. Secondly, evangelical Christianity created a network of the faithful, especially as black Baptists pushed to establish autonomous churches. At the same time, the American Revolution gave black Virginians a reason to see themselves as a cohesive people. In particular, Dunmore's Proclamation addressed the colony's slaves in collective terms. Finally, events in Saint Domingue [Haiti] provided a model of revolutionary racial justice that prompted black Virginians to situate themselves in a larger African Diaspora.
By 1800, Gabriel and his neighbors asserted a double consciousness that was at once provincial (black and Virginian) and global (black Virginian and African American). Sidbury carefully roots community and identity in concrete social relations, specific to time and place. People can simultaneously inhabit multiple, and potentially antagonistic, communities. Likewise, identities are "crosscutting," the term Sidbury uses to capture the tension among an individual's class, race, gender, status, nativity, and religious positions. Race was the foundation of many, but not all, of the communities to which enslaved Virginians belonged. When Haitian slaves arrived with their exiled masters in Richmond in 1793, local slaves skirmished with the strange, predominately-African refugees. In 1800, Gabriel and his allies excluded women from their uprising. They also debated whether to spare Quakers, Methodists, Frenchmen, and white women. Not long after, two slaves alerted their master to the plot, another black man turned the fleeing Gabriel over to the authorities, and several co-conspirators turned state's evidence. Where other historians have mythologized a homogeneous "slave community," Sidbury introduces complexity and conflict. He delights in the unpredictable, particularly the interracial alliances between men and women in Richmond's taverns, workshops, and jail." (James Sidbury. _Ploughshares into Swords: Race, Rebellion, and Identity in Gabriel's Virginia, 1730-1810_. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. x + 292 pp. Maps, footnotes, appendix, and index. $54.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-521-58454-x; $18.95 (paper), ISBN 0-521-59860-5.=20. Reviewed for H-SHEAR by Seth Rockman ,University of California—Davis)
The ten years form 1790 to 1800 not only saw an increase of the number of free blacks in the district from a handful to 400 in the midst of 2,369 slaves, but an influx of French Creole refugees, some of color, from Haiti. James Greenleaf, the developer of southwest Washington, hired several who were characterized by one native Marylander as a "miscreant junto of gypsies." (Slaves at the Founding. http://members.aol.com/_ht_a/swamp1800/slaves.html)
With regard to the ethnicity of Africans brought to Virginia, the majority of the original Slaves in a Tidewater Virginia plantation (Burwell Plantation) in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, came from the Niger River Delta in Africa. The book provides a detailed account on how these individuals lived and survived in their native land, and how they endured the "middle passage" to the "civilized" New World. (Lorena S. Walsh. _From Calabar to Carter's Grove: The History of a Virginia slave Community_. Colonial Williamsburg Studies in Chesapeake History and Culture. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997. Xxii + 335 pp. Illustrations, maps, bibliographical references, and index. $34.95 (paper), ISBN 0-8139-1719-0. Reviewed for H-Review by Karen R. Utz , History Department, University of Alabama-Birmingham)
The state of Virginia passes a law forbidding African-Americans to assemble between sunset and sunrise for religious worship or for instruction. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library )
1800Africans in Philadelphia petition Congress to end slavery. (The History Channels Chronology of Slavery in America)
Washington, D.C.- By a vote of 85 to 1, Congress rejects petition by free blacks of Philadelphia to gradually end slavery in the United States. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1800/05/10The United States Senate and House of approved An Act in Addition to the Act entitled "An Act to Prohibit the Carrying on the Slave Trade from the United States to any Foreign Place or Country. (United States Statutes at Large Volume 2 on line. The Avalon Project : Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery)
In the Convention, it was proposed by a committee of eleven to limit the importation of slaves to the year 1800, when Mr. Pinckney moved to extend the time to the year 1808. This motion was carried -- New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, voting in the affirmative; and New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, in the negative. In opposition to the [**328] motion, Mr. Madison said: "Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves; so long a term will be more dishonorable to the American character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution." (Madison Papers.) The provision in regard to the slave trade shows clearly that Congress considered slavery a State institution, to be continued and regulated by its individual sovereignty; and to conciliate that interest, the slave trade was continued twenty years, not as a general measure, but for the "benefit of such States as shall think proper to encourage it." (Dissent: Mr. Justice McLean in the Case of Dred Scott, Plaintiff In Error, v. John F. A Sandford. Supreme Court Of The United States, 60 U.S. 393; 1856 U.S. Lexis 472; 15 L. Ed. 691; 19 HOW 393, December, 1856)
1800/06/04/The White House was completed and its first occupants, President and Mrs. John Adams, moved in. (D.T.'s Chronology of History 1800-1809)
1800/11Congress moved to its new home in the U.S. Capital. (Before the Capitol, Congress Convened on the Road, by the United States Capitol Historical Society, Volume 7, Number 1, with Gift Catalog, Spring 1999)
1801-09Thomas Jefferson becomes president as Democratic-Republican. VP Aaron Burr served from 1801-5 replaced by George Clinton from 1805-9. Jefferson brought his slaves from Montecello to the White House to use as his servants. (William Seale , The President's House: a History, White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, pages 99, 101)
The domestic offices and servants quarters were in the basement story. They were airy rooms directly beneath the principal floor of the house and on the north side of the long groin-vaulted hall that ran from one end of the house to the other. (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, pages 102)
1801Napoleon decides to establish slavery in France again. (Chronology of the abolition of French slavery Remerciements à Pascal Boyries, Professeur d'Histoire-Géographie, au lycée Charles Baudelaire d'Annecy )
1801/02/27The State of 'Virginia ceded a part of Fairfax County to the District, this area was later returned to Virginia by an act of Congress on 9 July 1849. (1890 DC Census Index)
Two counties were established in the District: Washington County, east of the Potomac, and Alexandria County, on the west side of the river. The City of Washington was incorporated in 1802. Georgetown wills and deeds continued to be registered in Montgomery County, Maryland, until the late nineteenth century. (Research Outline, District of Columbia Family History Library, The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints This page has an extensive list of archive research sites.)
After the Federal Government had formally moved to the District of Columbia, Congress made the arrangement permanent by creating the county of Alexandria, in which the laws of Virginia as they then existed should prevail and Washington County, where the laws of Maryland as they then existed should be the basic code. (Letitia W Brown, Residence Patterns of Negroes in the District of Columbia, 1800-1860, Records of the Columbia Historical Society of Washington DC, 1969-70, p 70)
Senator Charles Sumner, a Massachusetts Republican, would latter outline how Maryland's slave code came to be the law of the District: Congress proceeded to assume that complete jurisdiction which is conferred in the Constitution by enacting, on the 27th February 1801, "that the laws of the State of Maryland, as they now exist, shall be and continue in force in that part of the said District which was ceded by that State to the United States, and by them accepted for the permanent seat of Government." Thus at one stroke all the existing laws of Maryland were adopted by Congress in gross, and from that time forward became the laws of the United States at the national capital. . . . Among the statutes of Maryland thus solemnly reenacted in gross by Congress was the following, originally passed as early as 1715--in colonial days: "All Negroes and other slaves already imported or hereafter to be imported into this province, and all children now born or hereafter to be born of such Negroes and slaves shall be slaves during their natural lives." Laws of Maryland, 1715, ch. 44, sec. 22. (Cong. Globe, 37th Cong., 2d Sess. 1448, 1862).
The Maryland code was latter described as "unjust, outmoded and unworthy of the nations capital" at the time of its adoption. (William Frank Zornow, "The Judicial Modifications of the Maryland Black Code in the District of Columbia," Maryland Historical Magazine, XLIV (March, 1949). 19-21). In 1830, the House Committee for the District of Columbia characterized the Code as "revolting to humanity" and "suited to barbarous ages. ("Laws for the District of Columbia," House Report No. 269, 20 Cong., 1 sess., 7) The Virginia Code was generally as cruel and oppressive as that of Maryland. The law sanctioned such primitive and savage practices as the nailing of a Negro's ears to a pillory as punishment for giving false testimony in a trial, or thirty-nine lashes "well laid on" if a black, free or slave, lifted his hand in opposition to any non-Negro. (Samuel Shepherd (comp.) The Statutes at Large of Virginia, from October Session 1792, to December Session 1806, Inclusive, in Three Volumes (new series) Being a Continuation of Hening (3 vols., Richmond, 1835), I, 125-27 (Dec, 1792). (All these citations were taken from Dorothy Sproles Provine, The Free Negro In the District of Columbia 1800-1860, Thesis Louisiana State University Department of History, 1959, 1963)
Provine would argue in her thesis that the Courts under Judge William Cranch who served on the District Court from 1801-1835, played a major role in softening the impact of the law on Negroes in the District. Provine used court cases to show that the court did allow Free Negroes to testify in cases against other Negroes and that in some cases Free Negroes were allowed to partition for their Freedom if it so stated in the will though the court held that Negroes could not enter into a contract so that if they entered into a contract that said that their servitude would last for seven years, and the master decided otherwise, the Negro had no legal recourse to enforce the contract. Cranch apparently was harder on cases brought before him on criminal where a Negro is accused of a criminal offence. One case, which drew a great deal of attention at the time because President Monroe granted a reprieve for the Cranch's death sentence to a Negro found guilty of stealing four dollars. (William F. Carne, "Life and Times of William Cranch, Judge of the District Circuit Court, 1801-1835," Records of the Columbia Historical Society, V 1902 pages 300-301), For a selection of Judge Cranch's decisions see Helen Tunnicliff Catterall (ed.), Cases from the Courts of New England, the Middle States and the District of Columbia, Vol. IV Judicial Cases Concerning American Slavery and the Negro, 5 vol., Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1926-1937, 154-208 some cases in Dorothy Sproles Provine, The Free Negro In the District of Columbia 1800-1860, Thesis Louisiana State University Department of History, 1959, 1963)
1801The Scottish Rite Freemasons was formed in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1801 (33 degrees including three Symbolic Lodge Degrees). ("Freemasonry," Microsoft Encarta, 98 Encyclopedia. 1993-1997) )
1802South Carolina resumes importing slaves as Eli Whitney’s 1792 cotton gin makes cotton growing profitable and boosts demand for field hands. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
1802/09/24John Barnes, of Georgetown, writes to Thomas Jefferson in Montecello. Relating that the "Uprising of Negroes in Washington has subsided." (  The American Heritage Virtual Archive Project at the University of Virginia Library)
1802Slave boatmen plot rebellion along Roanoke River in Virginia (Exploring Amistad at the Mystic Museum)
1803Cotton passes tobacco for the first time as the leading U.S. export crop. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
South Carolina resumes importing slaves as Eli Whitney’s 1792 cotton gin makes cotton growing profitable and boosts demand for field hands. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
New York City- Blacks of New York burn parts of the city and destroy several homes. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
The Louisiana Purchase doubles the size of the United States. Napoleon, being short of cash, offers to sell Louisiana to the United States for 15 million dollars. Two British banks, Barings and Hopes, agree to lend the money to the US government and, despite the wars, transfer it to Napoleon. (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1800 – 1849, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p. ISBN 0 7083 1351 5)
Bemis provides the source for Adams' earliest thoughts on slavery and commerce. "In voting against the Louisiana territorial bill in 1804, Adams voted against a provision in it that prohibited the importation of slaves from abroad into the Territory of Orleans either directly or by way of a state that permitted such importation. 'Slavery in a moral sense is an evil,' he declared in the debates, 'but as connected with commerce it has its uses. The regulations added to prevent slavery are insufficient. I shall therefore vote against them'" (1:122). Bemis' source is Everett Somerville Brown, "The Senate Debate on the Breckinridge Bill for the Government of Louisiana, 1804," (which was from notes taken at the time by Senator William Plumer of New Hampshire, _American Historical Review_ XXII (No. 2. January 1917), 340-64. (Research provided by Anne Decker, Adams Paper Project, Massachusetts Historical Society)
1803/02/28The United Sates House and Senate approved An Act to Prevent the Importation of Certain Persons into Certain States, Where, by the Laws Thereof, Their Admission is Prohibited. (United States Statutes at Large The Avalon Project : Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery)
1804Haiti’s revolutionists free all slaves and kill all whites that do not flee. Gain independence from France and establish Haiti. Many whites that flee emigrate to Baltimore. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
Tobacco Slave Narrative "On the Potomac, if a slave gives offence, he is generally chastised on the spot, in the field where he is at work, as the overseer always carried a whip- - sometimes a twisted cow- hide, sometimes a kind of horse- whip, and very often a simple hickory switch or gad, cut in the adjoining woods. For stealing meat, or other provisions, or for any of the higher offences, the slaves are stripped, tied up by the hands- - sometimes by the thumbs- - and whipped at the quarter- - but many times, on a large tobacco plantation, there is not more than one of these regular whippings in a week- - though on others, where the master happens to be a bad man, or a drunkard- - the back of the unhappy Maryland slaves, is seamed with scars from his neck to his hips." (Source: Charles Ball, Fifty Years in Chains; or, the Life of an American Slave (New York, 1858).
Underground Railroad is "incorporated" after slaveowner, Gen. Thomas Boudes of Columbia, Pennsylvania refuses to surrender escaped slave to authorities. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)
1804Ohio- The legislature enacts the first of the "Black Laws" restricting the rights and movements of Blacks. Other Western states soon follow suit. Illinois, Indiana and Oregon later have anti-immigration clauses in their state constitutions. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis http://www.triadntr.net/~rdavis/)
New Jersey- New Jersey passes an emancipation law. All states north of the Mason-Dixon Line now have laws forbidding slavery or providing for its gradual elimination. However, there are to be some slaves in New Jersey right up to the Civil War. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1805Early attempts to curtail slavery in the national capital failed. In 1805 Congress defeated a resolution to achieve gradual emancipation in the District; it would have designated the territory’s slave children free when they reached maturity. This would have major consequences for the future of the city. For instance, in 1808, when the external slave trade became illegal as allowed by Article I Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution, the domestic slave trade assumed new economic importance. (G. Franklin Edwards and Michael R. Winston, Commentary: The Washington of Paul Jennings—White House Slave, Free Man, and Conspirator for Freedom. White House Historical Association.)
Virginia General Assembly passed legislation giving free Blacks one year to get out of Virginia once their freedom had been gained, though modified in 1846 so that local courts could grant a free blacks the right to remain if he had performed some extraordinary good deed or if he were known to possess a good character and be peaceable sober, orderly and industrious person. (A Short History of Alexandria's Slave and Free Black Community by Elsa S. Rosenthal, 1790 Names – 1970 Faces)
1806Free blacks in Virginia occasionally acquired slaves as gifts or as inheritance from whites. During the 18th century, these unique slaveholders usually freed their bondsmen after holding them for brief periods. The state's repression of free blacks after 1806 altered this arrangement. Subject to expulsion from Virginia at the whim of county officials, those free blacks who owned slaves now held them for longer periods as a means to demonstrate their reliability to the state. They also fully realized that their charges, a group that often included family members, would as slaves be insulated from the dangers that confronted the state's free black population. Based on Virginia county tax records and secondary sources; 2 illus., 2 photos, 40 notes. (Schwarz, Philip J. Emancipators, Protectors, And Anomalies: Free Black Slaveowners In Virginia. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1987 95 (3): 317-338.)
Virginia required all slaves freed after 1 May to leave the state. (c) Such restrictions were typical of the types of laws passed, denying free Negroes the right to vote, serve on juries, testify against a white person or at all, or access to certain types of jobs, living in certain areas or burial in certain "all-white" cemeteries. (d) Educated free blacks were mistrusted, believed to be insurrectionists (2) One response to the problem of the free Negro was to sent them back to Africa. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
1807Embargo Act of 1807 Jefferson supported an embargo, which allowed no exports from the US to any country and restricted imports of certain British products. (1) It forbade all US ships from leaving for foreign ports, and did not allow many foreign vessels to leave US ports with US goods. (2) Although Federalists tried to block it, it passed the Senate 22-6, and in the House, supported by the South and West, by 82-44. (3) This action made Jefferson very unpopular, especially in Federalist strongholds and along the Atlantic coast. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX
"The First school for the colored children of Washington was built, (sometime around 1807,) in the block bounded by 2nd, 3rd, D, and E Streets, SE." (Chronology of Events in the History of the District of Columbia, Compiled by Philip Ogilvie, Deposited in the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC)
1807/03/02The United States House and Senate approve An Act to Prohibit the Importation of Slaves into any Port or Place Within the Jurisdiction of the United States, From and After the First Day of January, in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eight 1808. (United States Statutes at Large on line at The Avalon Project : Statutes of the United States Concerning Slavery)
1808Slave importation outlawed. Some 250,000 slaves were illegally imported from 1808-60. (The World Almanac and Book of Facts 1996 from MS Bookshelf)
Importation of slaves into the United States is banned as of January 1 by an act of Congress passed last year, but illegal imports continue (see 1814). (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
Some southerners feared slave revolts if importation continued. Religious societies stressed the moral evil of the trade, and free blacks saw the end of the slave trade as a first step toward general emancipation. (National Park Service on Underground Railroad, Early Anti Slavery )
1809-1861Historian Curtin estimates that approximately one million slaves were illicitly imported to the Unites States between 1809 and 1861 (1961:13). (Raymond A. Almeida, Chronological References: Cabo Verde/Cape Verdean American )
In 1790, more than half the 750,000 blacks in the United States lived in Maryland and Virginia. After slave importation was outlawed in 1808, slave traders began offering cash to whites in this area who would sell their house slaves to be auctioned as field hands on the new plantations of Mississippi and Louisiana. Private jails on Seventh Street SW (where the Hirshhorn Museum is today) and on the west end of Duke Street in Alexandria (then a part of the District) held blacks for shipment. (Bob Arnebeck "A Shameful Heritage," Washington Post Magazine January 18, 1889)
1809-17James Madison becomes president as Democratic-Republican. VP George Clinton serves 1809-12, and from Apr 1812-Mar 1813, then Elbridge Gerry serves from 1813-14 and Nov 1814-Mar 1817. Madison brings his salves to work at the White House as servants, (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, pages 121) Paul Jennings, a slave, and Madison's body servant was to become the author of the first White House Memoir in his later years as a free man. A Colored man Reminiscences. (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, pages 122) Except from Memoir "It has often been stated in print, that when Mrs. Madison escaped from the White House, she cut out from the frame the large portrait of Washington (now in one of the parlors there), and carried it off. This is totally false. She had no time for doing it. It would have required a ladder to get it down. All she carried off was the silver in her reticule..." Paul Jennings' complete memoir along with an excellent summary of the history of Americans of African descent in Washington DC is on-line. (G. Franklin Edwards and Michael R. Winston, Commentary: The Washington of Paul Jennings—White House Slave, Free Man, and Conspirator for Freedom. White House Historical Association)
1810The population of the district was 16,079 whites, 2,549 free Negroes, and 5,395 slaves. (Chronology of Events in the History of the District of Columbia, Compiled by Philip Ogilvie, Deposited in the Library of the Historical Society of Washington, DC)
Free blacks disenfranchised in Maryland.
1810-26During the struggle of Spain’s American colonies for independence from 1810 to 1826, both the insurgents and the loyalists promised to emancipate all slaves who took part in military campaigns. Mexico, the Central American states, and Chile abolished slavery once they were independent. In 1821 the Venezuelan Congress approved a law reaffirming the abolition of the slave trade, liberating all slaves who had fought with the victorious armies, and establishing a system that immediately manumitted all children of slaves, while gradually freeing their parents. The last Venezuelan slaves were freed in 1854. In Argentina the process began in 1813 and ended with the ratification of the 1853 constitution by the city of Buenos Aires in 1861. ("Blacks in Latin America," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
Louisiana slaves revolted in two parishes about 35 miles from New Orleans, Jan. 8-10. Revolt suppressed by U.S. troops. The largest slave revolt in the United States. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
1811Bank of the United States' charter is not renewed. Public opposition to British shareholders, suspicion that the bank is exceeding its constitutional powers, and opposition from those who believe that banking should be controlled by the states not the Federal government, are responsible for the demise of the bank. p 473-474 (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1800 – 1829, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p. ISBN 0 7083 1351 5.)
Louisiana- U.S. troops suppress a slave uprising in two parishes some 35 miles from New Orleans. The revolt is led by Charles Deslands. Some 100 slaves are killed or executed. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1812-1814War between the United States and Britain Inflation takes off in the United States. This is only partly because of the war. Without the restraining hand of the Bank of the United States there is a huge increase in the number of banks issuing notes with very little specie backing. This experience swings opinion in favor of creating a new national bank. p 474 (A Comparative Chronology of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day, 1800 – 1829, Based on the book: A History of Money from Ancient Times to the Present Day by Glyn Davies, rev. ed. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1996. 716p. ISBN 0 7083 1351 5. )
1812Spring Planned slave revolt in Henry County, Virginia, soon after the Richard Fire, kills slave owner. . (From Posting by Henry Wiencek, in firstname.lastname@example.org. The plans are outlined in a report from magistrates in Montgomery Country detailing the murder confession of a slave named Tom. The magistrates' report is reprinted in "Calendar of Virginia State Papers, Vol. 10 [1808-1835]" pp. 120 ff.)
1812/09/11Marines escorting a convoy of supply wagons ambushed by an irregular force of Native Americans and African Americans in Twelve Mile Swamp near St.John's, East Florida, 11 Sep. 1812. Two marines killed and seven were wounded. (US Navy & Marine Casualties )
1814/08/24During War of 1812, British occupied large areas of the Midwest. They also took the city of Washington and burned the White House. On August 24, 1814, Madison joined his armies retreating from the capital. For four days the president rode about the countryside near Washington, endeavoring to maintain contact with the commanders of his forces. On August 27 he returned to the capital, which had been devastated and abandoned by the British. ("Madison, James," Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia.)
1814/12/24Britain and the United States agree to cooperate in suppressing the slave trade under terms of the Treaty of Ghent (The Treaty of Ghent, ends the War of 1812), but the trade actually expands as U.S. clipper ships built at Baltimore and Rhode Island ports outsail ponderous British men-of-war to deliver cargoes of slaves. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
The Treaty says that All ... possessions whatsoever taken by either party from the other during the war, ...shall be restored without delay and without causing any destruction or carrying away any ... any Slaves or other private property;..." (Treaty of Ghent 1814, Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America.)
1815In the nations capital, "White paranoia of Black presence caused a tightening of legal and economic restrictions against Blacks – slave and free. (Gibbs Myers, "Pioneers in the Federal Area," Records of the Columbia Historical Society Vol. 44-45, 1944 p 144; James Borchert, Alley Life in Washington, Urbana/Chicago University of Illinois Press, 1980, p4; David L. Lewis, District of Columbia; A Bicentennial History, New York, Norton, 1996 p. 46) Where Whites chose to seek jobs, Blacks were required to yield. The Columbia Typographical Union, formed in 1815, refused to accept Blacks apprentices or printers to membership, effectively cutting Blacks out of the city's most rapidly expanding business. When those restrictions were challenged in court in 1821, Judge William Cranch ruled that the municipal corporation had the power to restrict any group's liberties in the interests of the larger society. (David L. Lewis, District of Columbia; A Bicentennial History, New York, Norton, 1996 pp. 46-47, Mary Tremain, Slavery in the District of Columbia, 1892, Reprint New York; Negro Universities Press, 1969, pp. 52-53; Constance McLaughlin Green, The Secret City: A History of Race Relations in the Nations Capital, Princeton University Press, NJ, 1967, p 27) (This passage with citations was taken from the monograph of Dr. Tingba Apidta, "The Hidden History of Washington, DC, A Guide for Black Folks, A publication of the Reclamation Project, Roxbury, MA, 2nd printing, 1998)
1816/07/17Ambush of Navy personnel on Apalachicola River, Spanish Florida, during reconnaissance of fort and settlement occupied by free African Americans and escaped slaves, 17 Jul. 1816. Four Navy killed. (US Navy & Marine Casualties)
Seminole Wars begin in Florida as a result of many slaves taking refuge with Seminole Indians. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)
Three hundred fugitive slaves and about 20 Indian allies held Fort Blount on Apalachicola Bay, Fla., for several days before it was attacked by U.S. Troops. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
Throughout the colonial period and until 1819, slaves escaped from the lower south into East and West Florida. While the famous "Negro Fort," once the British Fort Gadsden, was taken by American troops in 1816, it was not until 1819 that the United States made a bold play to take all of East Florida. In that year, Congress attempted to put a stop to slave runaways and Indian raids across the Florida border by sending Andrew Jackson to make war on the encampments and communities of Africans and Native Americans. Jackson went farther and claimed all of Florida for the United States. Spain was not strong enough to reclaim Florida and the descendants of many fugitives moved on to Cuba or retreated into the swamps. (The Underground Railroad In American History, the National Park Service)
1816-18Spanish Florida - First Seminole War. The Seminole Indians, whose area was a resort for escaped slaves and border ruffians, were attacked by troops under Generals Jackson and Gaines and pursued into northern Florida. Spanish posts were attacked and occupied, British citizens executed. In 1819 the Florida’s' were ceded to the United States. (Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 – 1993 by Ellen C. Collier, Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division Washington DC: Congressional Research Service -- Library of Congress -- October 7, 1993 )
Slaves were not uniformly distributed throughout the South. The great majority of them were held in areas where large-scale agriculture was the most economic method of farming. As a result, few lived where the terrain was rugged and/or not very fertile. Few, too, lived near the Mexican border because most people considered it too risky to hold them so near a border that they could gain their freedom by crossing. This is one reason Southerners were so anxious for the United States to acquire Florida. Where plantation (large-scale) agriculture was practiced, blacks lived both in the countryside and in the city. Over half of Charleston's residents in 1860 were black. The "blacker" an area was; the more vociferous was its defense of slavery. Possibly because it was the "blackest state", South Carolina was the chief hot bed of secession. (Whites were in the minority in South Carolina and were vastly outnumbered in some Low Country counties.) (Clopton's Short History Of The Confederate States Of America, 1861 – 1925, by Patrick Waldegrave Clopton, M.A. Edited and Updated to 1925, by Carole Elizabeth Scott, Ph.D. in A Counterfactual History Copyrighted by Carole E. Scott, 1997)
1816Virginia- Failure of slave rebellion led by George Boxley, a white man. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis )
1817-25James Monroe becomes President as Democratic-Republican. VP Daniel D. Tompkins. DC Census for 1820 records Monroe with 6 Slaves and 2 "free colored" at the White House. (1820 DC Census Roll # 5 page 3)
James Monroe (1758-1831) fulfilled his youthful dream of becoming the owner of a large plantation and wielding great political power, but his efforts in agriculture were never profitable. He sold his small inherited Virginia plantation in 1783 to enter law and politics, and though he owned land and slaves and speculated in property he was rarely on-site to oversee the operation. Therefore the slaves were treated harshly to make them more productive and the plantations barely supported themselves if at all. His lavish lifestyle often necessitated selling property to pay debts. Documentation: (Gawalt, Gerard W. James Monroe, Presidential Planter. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 1993 101(2): 251-272. Based on correspondence, financial accounts, and secondary sources)
1818As a response to the Fugitive Slave Act (1793), abolitionists use the "underground" to assist slaves to escape into Ohio and Canada. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service )
As a result of the legal opinion of the colony's (Upper Canada) Chief Justice in 1818 no one seen as a slave in another jurisdiction could be returned there simply because he/she had sought freedom in Upper Canada. Whatever their status in the U.S. or elsewhere, in Upper Canada they were free long before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1833 See also 1791 under Upper Canada. (Posting on SLAVERY@LISTSERV.UH.EDU by Dr. Jeffrey L. McNairn, Department of History, York University, Toronto, Ontario, )
1818/10/19A fee of fifty cents was allowed constables (Washington, DC police) for each whipping of a slave, who had been adjudged guilty of violating an act of the corporation of the Federal City. (Richard Sylvester, District of Columbia Police, Policemen's Fund, Washington, DC 1894)
1819Alabama- Alabama enters the Union as a slave state, although its constitution provides the Legislature with the power to abolish slavery and compensate slaveowners. Other measures include jury trials for slaves figuring in crimes above petty larceny and penalties for malicious killing of slaves. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
1819"Miller's Tavern at Thirteenth and F Streets NW was on fire, a bystander, William Gardiner, refused to join the customary bucket brigade and loudly denounced the place as a slave prison. The resulting controversy conducted in newspaper columns revealed the tragic past of the tavern. A Negro woman about to be sold South apart from her husband, had leapt in frenzy from an attic window, breaking both arms and injuring her back, but surviving. This focused attention upon the local slave trade. Humanitarian Jesse Torrey came to Washington shortly after the attempted suicide, visited the injured woman and discovered two kidnapped Negroes in the attic. He began a suit in the circuit court for their freedom, the expenses being defrayed by a group of persons headed by Francis Scott Key, who gave his legal services gratis"...The slave owner was Johan Randolph. (Washington, City and Capital, Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, American Guide Series. Washington, 1937, USGPO. p69)
John Quincy Adams was a Congregationalist, not an Episcopalian, but decided while Secretary of State to go to Congregationalist Christ Church anyway. The reason, he wrote in his diary in 1819, was that its rector, Andrew McCormick, was the only preacher in town worth hearing. "I have at last given the preference to Mr. McCormick, of the Episcopal Church," Adams noted in the entry for October 24, "and spoke to him last week for a pew." McCormick had served earlier as Chaplain of the U.S. Senate and had officiated at the wedding of Lydia, Benjamin Latrobe’s daughter. (Christ Church & Washington Parish, A Brief History, By Nan Robertson ) According to the 1820 census the Rev. Andrew T. McCormick, Rector of Christ Church, resided with 3 slaves between the ages of 14-16, The listing included: white male 10-16; 1 white male 16-18; white male 26-45, 1 white Females 4 - 10; 1 white female 10-16; and 1 white female 26-45 In 1827, Rev McCormick listed his place of work as the State Department. (1820 DC Census Roll 5 page 101 and DC City Directory 1822 & 1827)
1819Panic of 1819 (1) Commodity inflation, wild speculation in western lands, overextended investments in manufacturing, mismanagement of the Second Bank of the US, collapse of foreign markets and contraction of credit, led to the first real American economic depression. (2) The Congressional order in 1817 to resume specie payments strained the resources of state banks, caused many failures and created hardships for debtors, especially in the southwest. (3) To end wild land speculation, Congress canceled the easy credit terms of the land law of 1800, but kept the price at $1.25 per acre for a minimum of 80 acres. (a) "Squatters" often settled on and improved government land, not yet for sale. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
From the United States Historical Census Data Browser.
1820United States Census for John Q Adams shows 1 female slave under 14 years; 1 white male 10-16; 1 white male 16-18; 1 white male 18-26; 2 white male 26-45; 1 white male over 45. 2 white females 10-16; 2 white females 16-18; 1 white female over 45 plus Foreigners not naturalized 3. (1820 DC Census Roll 5 page 97)
Congress authorized the District of Columbia to elect white city officials. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, Growing Racism )
In 1820, in the charter to the city of Washington, the corporation is authorized "to restrain and prohibit the nightly and other disorderly meetings of slaves, free Negroes, and mulattos," thus associating them together in its legislation; and after prescribing the punishment that may be inflicted on the salves, proceeds in the following words: "And to punish such free Negroes and mulattos by penalties not exceeding twenty dollars for any one offence; and in case of the inability of any such free Negro or mulatto to pay any such penalty and cost thereon, to cause him or her to be confined to labor for any time not exceeding six calendar months." And in a subsequent part of the same section, the act authorizes the corporation "to prescribe the terms and conditions upon which free Negroes and mulattos may reside in the city." (Scott v. Sandford, Supreme Court Of The United States, 60 U.S. 393; 1856 U.S. Lexis 472; 15 L. Ed. 691; 19 HOW 393, December, 1856, Term)
1820/03Missouri Compromise admits Missouri and Maine as slave and free states, respectively. The measure establishes the 36 degree, 30' parallel of latitude as a dividing line between free and slave areas of the territories. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)
Missouri Compromise March 1820 (1) Both Missouri and Maine applied for statehood by the end of 1819 when the US had eleven slave (VA, MD, DE, KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, MISS, LA) and eleven free (MASS, CO, RI, VT, NH, NY, NJ, PA, OH, IN, IL) states. (2) While the slave-holding South had 81 votes in the House to the North's 105, a political balance was maintained in the Senate between 1802-19 by admitting alternately a free and a slave state. (3) The population in the north was growing at a faster pace than in the South and the South realized its political future lay in the Senate. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
The Missouri crisis of 1819-1821 put Madison's convictions on the slavery issue to a severe test. In letters to the President and several other correspondents, Madison denied that Congress had the power to attach an antislavery condition to the admission of a new state, or to control the migration of slaves within the several States. James Madison wrote a letter on this subject to Robert Walsh in November of 1819. He responded to Walsh's question about the founding fathers intentions in the Constitution's clause that states "the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight, . . ." (Constitution, art. I, sec. 9.) Madison responded by saying as a matter of compromise the Northern States agreed to extend the slave trade for twenty years, because the Southern States never would have agreed to a plan that ended importation. Madison thought that most undeniably the term "migration" meant exclusively from other countries and not within the several States. Madison reiterated this point to his successor, James Monroe the following February. More tentatively, he questioned the constitutionality of laws excluding slavery from the national territories, despite the sweeping grant of federal power in the territorial clause of the Northwest Ordinance as re-enacted by the First Congress. His strained legal and historical argument on this last point was hardly strengthened by the prediction that the expansion and dispersion of slavery would improve the condition of the slaves and hasten the end of the institution of slavery. (James Madison and Slavery by Kenneth M. Clark, The James Madison Museum )
1819/03African Slave Trade (1) A law in March 1819 paid a bounty for information on illegal importation of Negro slaves into the US or seized at sea. (2) The president was empowered to return all such slaves to Africa. (3) In 1820 the foreign slave trade was declared piracy which could result in forfeiture of vessels and death penalty for all US citizens engaged in importing slaves. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
1820-23US Naval units raided the slave traffic off Africa pursuant to the 1819 act of Congress. (Instances of Use of United States Forces Abroad, 1798 -1993 by Ellen C. Collier, Specialist in U.S. Foreign Policy, Congressional Research Service -Oct 7, 1993)
1843-1859The anti-slavery Africa Squadron of the U.S. Navy patrols West African coastal waters from its base at Cape Verde. The USS Constitution("Old Ironsides") served with this squadron in Cape Verde. Captain Matthew Perry was the last Commander of the Squadron. Sometime after Perry would command the famous U.S. mission which opened up trade with Japan. Only 19 slavers were every actually charged in court as a result of the 16 year largely symbolic and ineffective operation. Most of those convicted paid light fines and served very short sentences. (Raymond A. Almeida, Chronological References: Cabo Verde/Cape Verdean American )
From 1830 to 1850 both Great Britain and the United States, by joint convention, kept on the coast of Africa at least eighty guns afloat for the suppression of the slave trade. Most of the vessels so employed were small corvettes, brigs, or schooners; steam at that time was just being introduced into the navies of the world… Repeatedly we had chased suspicious craft only to be out-sailed. At this time the traffic in slaves was very brisk; the demand in the Brazils, in Cuba, and in other Spanish West Indies was urgent, and the profit of the business so great that two or three successful ventures would enrich any one. The slavers were generally small, handy craft; fast, of course; usually schooner-rigged, and carrying flying topsails and forecourse. Many were built in England or elsewhere purposely for the business, without, of course, the knowledge of the builders, ostensibly as yachts or traders. The Spaniards and Portuguese were the principal offenders, with occasionally an English-speaking renegade. The slave depots, or barracoons, were generally located some miles up a river. Here the slaver was secure from capture and could embark his live cargo at his leisure. Keeping a sharp lookout on the coast, the dealers were able to follow the movements of the cruisers, and by means of smoke, or in other ways, signal when the coast was clear for the coming down the river and sailing of the loaded craft. Before taking in the cargoes they were always fortified with all the necessary papers and documents to show they were engaged in legitimate commerce, so it was only when caught in flagrante delicto that we could hold them. (For the rest of the story see Wood, J. Taylor. "The Capture of a Slaver." Atlantic Monthly 86 (1900): 451-463. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library )
1820/02/06First organized emigration of blacks 86 free black colonists sail from NYC to Sierra Leone, Africa. (D.T.'s Chronology of History 1820-1829!)
1821Ohio Quaker saddlemaker Benjamin Lundy, 32, urges abolition of slavery and begins publication of his antislavery newspaper Genius of Universal Emancipation. He soon moves to Greenville, Tenn., and will relocate to Baltimore in 1824. A slave trader will attack and severely injure him in 1828, but Lundy will enlist the support of William Lloyd Garrison, now 16, and Garrison will serve as associate editor for 6 months beginning in September 1829 (see 1831). (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1821The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is organized on June 21. AME Zion forms a new denomination with members from New Haven, Philadelphia and Long Island. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library )
1822/03/09 Masonic Meeting held in the Senate Chamber in the United States Capital, to organize a General Grand Lodge of the Untied Sates The group adapted a unanimous resolution offered by Henry Clay Grand Master of Kentucky (1820) calling upon the various Grand Lodges to consider the matter at their next annual meeting. The committee was headed by John Marshall, Grand Master of Virginia (1793-1795) and included Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris of Massachusetts, one of the best known Masons of the day. (Ray Baker Harris, Sesqui-Centennial History of the Grand Lodge Free and accepted Masons, District of Columbia, 1811-1961, Washington, DC, 1962)
1822/06/16Ve·sey (vê¹zê), Denmark 1767?-1822 American insurrectionist. A freed slave in South Carolina, he was implicated in the planning of a large uprising of slaves and was hanged. The event led to more stringent slave codes in many Southern states. (The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition, 1992 From MS Bookshelf.)Vesey’s Rebellion fails in South Carolina June 16 when authorities at Charleston arrest 10 slaves who have heeded the urgings of local freedman Denmark Vesey, 55. Vesey himself is arrested, defends himself eloquently in court, but is hanged July 2 with four other blacks. Further arrests follow, more than 30 other executions will take place, and several southern states will tighten their slave codes. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
Denmark Vesey, is a Methodist. (Slavery and Religion in America: A timeline 1440-1866. By the Internet Public Library) Denmark Vesey plotted and was betrayed. 'House slave' betrayed Denmark Vesey conspiracy, May 30. Vesey conspiracy, one of the most elaborate slave plots on record, involved thousands of Negroes in Charleston, S.C., and vicinity. Authorities arrested 131 Negroes and four whites. Thirty-seven were hanged. Vesey and five of his aides hanged at Blake's Landing, Charleston, S.C., July 2.(Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
In Charleston, South Carolina, a young slave named Denmark Vesey won $1,500 in a lottery with which he purchased his freedom. During the following years he worked as a carpenter. In his concern over the plight of his slave brethren, he formed a plan for an insurrection which would bring them their freedom. He and other freedmen collected two hundred pike heads and bayonets as well as three hundred daggers to use in the revolt, but, before the plans could be put into motion in 1882, a slave informed on them. This time it was rumored that there had been some nine thousand involved in the plot. Over a hundred arrests were made, including four whites who had encouraged the project, and several of the leaders, including Vesey, were executed. (Norman Coombs, The Immigrant Heritage of America, Twayne Press, 1972. , Chapter 4, Slave Insurrections)
It may be that by the Black Code (as it was called), in the times when slavery prevailed, the proprietors of inns and public [*22] conveyances were forbidden to receive persons of the African race, because it might assist slaves to escape from the control of their masters. This was merely a means of preventing such escapes, and was no part of the servitude itself. A law of that kind could not have any such object now, however justly it might be deemed an invasion of the party's legal right as a citizen, and amenable to the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Civil Rights Cases; United States v Stanley; United States v. Nichols; United States v. Singleton; Robinson & Wife v. Memphis And Charleston Railroad Company. Supreme Court Of The United States, 109 U.S. 3; 3 S. Ct. 18; 1883 U.S. Lexis 928; 27 L. Ed. 835 Submitted October Term, 1882. October 15, 1883, Decided)
1823Mississippi- Law prohibiting teaching of reading and writing to blacks and meetings of more than five slaves or free blacks is enacted. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia- U.S. Circuit Court declares that removal of a slave to a free bestows freedom and that malicious, cruel, or inhuman treatment of a slave is an indictable offense of a common law. (Chronology: A Historical Review, Major Events in Black History 1492 thru 1953 by Roger Davis and Wanda Neal-Davis)
1824/05Tariff of 1824 (1) It increased protection on iron, lead, glass, hemp and cotton bagging, raised the 25% minimum on cotton on woolens to 33 1/3% and advanced the rate for raw wool by 15%. (2) New England commercial interests and Southerners joined in opposition. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX )
1825-29John Quincy Adams becomes President as Democratic-Republican. VP is John C. Calhoun
1825/02/09John Quincy Adams is elected U.S. During the Madison administration, Adams served as minister to Russia and later helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent (1814). In 1817. Adams became Secretary of State in President Monroe’s cabinet, where he authored the Monroe doctrine.
John Quincy Adams is elected U.S. president February 9 in the House of Representatives where Kentucky’s Henry Clay controls the deciding block of votes. Clay chooses Adams over Andrew Jackson as the lesser of two evils and is named secretary of state. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
Britain and the United States agree to cooperate in suppressing the slave trade under terms of the Treaty of Ghent (see 1814), but the trade actually expands as U.S. clipper ships built at Baltimore and Rhode Island ports outsail ponderous British men-of-war to deliver cargoes of slaves. (The People's Chronology 1995, 1996 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf)
The Yankee John Quincy Adams saw it differently: "Westward the star of empire takes its way, in the whiteness of innocence." An appeaser as President, he wrote that " slavery in a moral sense is an evil, but in commerce it has its uses." In another episode of tragic irony, an aged Adams returned to Washington as a Congressman to wage a heroic, lonely battle against the slavers' domination. (Nixon's Piano: Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton, Kenneth O'Reilly, NY, Free Press 1995)
1826A Pennsylvania law that makes kidnapping a felony effectively nullifies the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1827/07/04All slaves in New York became free under gradual emancipation law.
1828The Great Separation of 1827 splits the Quakers. The split frequently separated families and destroyed lifelong relationships. Ownership of Meeting Houses and cemeteries was disputed, and sometimes ended in court suits. Yearly and Monthly Meetings of different branches now had authority over the same geography. Factions include Hicksites-- traditional, un-programmed, non-pastoral, decidedly non-Protestant, non-authoritarian, non-biblical, reject sanctification doctrine Gurneyites-- the 'Orthodox' Friends, now usually pastoral, moderately Protestant, silent periods in the midst of programmed meetings, authoritarian, biblical, accept sanctification. (World of Quaker Alphabet Soup! )
1828 . Election of 1828Democrat Andrew Jackson , nominated by Tennessee's legislature (October 1825), resigned his Senate seat to run for president. VP John C. Calhoun was placed on the ticket with Jackson. National Republicans in Harrisburg PA nominated John Quincy Adams for a second term and added Richard Rush (PA) for Vice president. Democrats attacked on personal grounds and their opponents retaliated in kind. The "corrupt bargain" charge was used effectively against Adams and Clay. Jackson was hailed as a frontier military hero, champion of the common man and supporter of the "American system."
Jackson won with 647,231 popular (178 electoral) votes to Adams 509,097 popular (83 electoral) votes Calhoun was reelected Vice-president with 171 electoral votes. The crucial states of Pennsylvania and New York both went for Jackson. In New York, Jackson received 140,763 votes to Adams 135,413, with the support of Martin Van Buren and William L. Marcy , NY leaders who had gained control over the old Republican machine and maintained power by exercising the "spoils system."
John Quincy Adams retires. Adams had served as Ambassador, Senator, Secretary of State and one-term as US President. Following his defeat for reelection, in 1831 Adams returned for 17 years to the House of Representatives from Massachusetts, earning the nickname Old Man Eloquent ..He fiercely opposed the expansion of slavery, seeking to limit its movement into newer states. 4.In 1848, he suffered a stroke in Congress and died a few hours later. His ghost is said to roam the House chambers still. (Growth Of The Nation – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX)
After taking office Jackson suspended the practice of holding cabinet meetings, relying on a small group of unofficial political confidants for advice on policy. b. These "lower cabinet" meetings known as the "Kitchen Cabinet," included Amos Kendall , Isaac Hill , William B. Lewis , Andrew J. Donelson and Duff Green . c. After the Cabinet was reorganized in 1831, Jackson relied on it for counsel.. (Growth Of The Nation 1800 – 40 Jefferson's Administrations Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX)
1828As most presidents did before him with other news-papers, Andrew Jackson used the Globe, the Argus, and the Telegraph as his official mouth-pieces and for press releases. (Selected Review Of Improtant Media Related Historical Events And Facts, Oklahoma Baptist University )
Slave dealers Franklin and Armfield establish office and slave pen at 1315 Duke Street in Arlington Virginia. (City of Alexandria Timeline)
1828/07/04Work begins on the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal. President Adams turns the first spade of soil to start a race between the B&O and C&O across the Alleghenies. It would not be completely finished until 1850. (The People's Chronology, 1994 by James Trager from MS Bookshelf.)
1829Black abolitionist, David Walker issues David Walker's Appeal. Afterwards, severe slave revolts occurred throughout the South. (Underground Railroad Chronology, National Park Service)
Race riot, Cincinnati, Ohio, August 10. More than 1,000 Negroes left the city for Canada. (Major Revolts and Escapes, Lerone Bennett, Before the Mayflower)
Andrew Jackson becomes President as Democrat. VP is John C. Calhoun, 1829-32 - Dec 1832-Mar 1833 and Martin Van Buren, 1833-37"Always hard up for money, the free-spending Jackson eventually realized that he could save money by replacing hired servants with slaves from home. (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, page 181) All of Jackson's servants were slaves who had worked under Mrs. Jackson's management at his country plantation. So for the time Adam's employees were kept on, including Giusta and Madame Giusta, the housekeeper. The work of preparing the inaugural day reception was left to them. (William Seale, "The President's House: a History," White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, page 177)"The White House basement has a long vaulted passage, in some places the brick floors had been replaced by wood, which was drier and easier on the feet. Service needs and servants' sleeping quarters absorbed all the rooms and extended into the east and west wings. Some of the personal servants slept in the warren of small rooms in the west end of the attic: these had steeply slanted ceilings and were lighted by dormer windows. Jackson's body servant slept on a pallet in his room, a custom that seems to have begun early in the administration, when the general was unwell. A slave nurse slept in the small corner room adjacent to Donelsons' bedroom, and kept the little children.
|Those who lived in the basement level were white "undercooks" laundry workers, and general-purpose house servants. The windowless oval room directly beneath the oval drawing room was the servants' waiting room. Here was a table with benches and chairs; built-in cupboards held supplies of all kinds; a glass door gave light through the arch beneath the south portico. Rows of spring-mounted bells connected to taut wires ran along the wall and when a pull on some unseen cord or crank upstairs set one jingling, the particular servant hardly had to look, for by experience he recognized the sound. (The President's House: a History by William Seale, White House Historical Association with the Cooperation of the National Geographic Society and Harry N Abrams, 1986, vol. 1, page 194)
End of 1790-1829 Chronology.
The Chronology is broken up into three parts:
For a more complete treatise, see the work of Eddie Becker,http://innercity.org/holt/chron_1790_1829.html
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