AN UGLY FEATURE OF EARLY SEAFARING—THE SLAVE TRADE AND ITS PROMOTERS—PART PLAYED BY EMINENT NEW ENGLANDERS—HOW THE TRADE GREW UP—THE PIOUS AUSPICES WHICH SURROUNDED THE TRAFFIC—SLAVE-STEALING AND SABBATH-BREAKING—CONDITIONS OF THE TRADE—SIZE OF THE VESSELS—HOW THE CAPTIVES WERE TREATED—MUTINIES, MAN-STEALING, AND MURDER—THE REVELATIONS OF THE ABOLITION SOCIETY—EFFORTS TO BREAK UP THE TRADE—AN AWFUL RETRIBUTION—ENGLAND LEADS THE WAY—DIFFICULTY OF ENFORCING THE LAW—AMERICA’S SHAME—THE END OF THE EVIL—THE LAST SLAVER.
At the foot of Narragansett Bay, with the surges of the open ocean breaking fiercely on its eastward side, and a sheltered harbor crowded with trim pleasure craft, leading up to its rotting wharves, lies the old colonial town of Newport. A holiday place it is to-day, a spot of splendor and of wealth almost without parallel in the world. From the rugged cliffs on its seaward side great granite palaces stare, many-windowed, over the Atlantic, and velvet lawns slope down to the rocks. These are the homes of the people who, in the last fifty years, have brought new life and new riches to Newport. But down in the old town you will occasionally come across a fine old colonial mansion, still retaining some signs of its former grandeur, while scattered about the island to the north are stately old farmhouses and homesteads that show clearly enough the existence in that quiet spot of wealth and comfort for these one hundred and fifty years.