Kidnapping a Free Person to Sell as a Slave, U.S. South, 1830s


George Bourne, Picture of slavery in the United State of America. . . (Boston, 1838), facing. p. 120.


The illustrations in this anti-slavery book strongly reflect its abolitionist perspective. Captioned, Kidnapping, this illustration shows the kidnapping of a free person of color to sell him as a slave. Nothing is more common, the author writes, than for two of these white partners in kidnapping . . . to start upon the prowl; and if they find a freeman on the road, to demand his certificate, tear it in pieces, or secrete it, tie him to one of their horses, hurry off to some jail, while one whips the citizen along as fast as their horses can travel. There by an understanding with the jailor who shares in the spoil, all possibility of intercourse with his friends is denied the stolen citizen. At the earliest possible period, the captive is sold out to pay the felonious claims of the law . . . and then transferred to some of their accomplices of iniquity . . . who fill every part of the southern states with rapine, crime, and blood (p. 120).

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