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"Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- "Eight hundred," says the auctioneer. "900 ... 1,000 ... 1,100 ..." Sold. For 1,200 Libyan dinars -- the equivalent of $800. "Not a used car, a piece of land, or an item of furniture. Not "merchandise" at all, but two human beings. "One of the unidentified men being sold in the grainy cell phone video obtained by CNN is Nigerian. He appears to be in his twenties and is wearing a pale shirt and sweatpants. . . . "
"Experiences of a 'Blackbirder' Among the Gilbert Islands" - Arthur Inkersly and W.H. Brommage - Overland Monthly
". . .Passing over the voyage, I will proceed at once with the narrative of incidents at Butaritari, and other islands of the Gilbert, or Kingsmill, Archipelago, from which group came several of the South Sea Islands at the Midwinter Fair. . ."
Overland Monthly Friday, June 1, 1894
"Doesticks' Assault on Slavery: Style and Technique in the Great Auction Sale of Slaves, at Savannah, Georgia" - Edward J. Piacentino - Phylon
". . .The author of 'The Great Auction Sale,' Mortimer Thomson, better known by his pseudonym, Q.K. Philander Doesticks, P.B., a writer who was one of the most popular American humorists of the 1850s, previously had published five books—all with a humorously satiric thrust: 'Doesticks: What He Says,' a burlesque of many facets of New York City life in the 1850s; 'Plu-ri-bus-tah, A Song That's By-No-Author,' a poetic burlesque social history of the United States parodying the trochaic metrics of Longfellow's 'Hiawatha'. . ."
One of the chance acquaintances I made at the never-rip jersey factory worked three days for Julius Stein & Co., 122 Market street, received 63 cents for her labors about ten days after leaving. One-third of 63 cents is 21 2/5 cents. That is the way Stein & CO solve the problem; but the question is one that capital, Christianity, and civilization are invited to analyze. "Don't never go to Stein's" the little girl said, "It's an awful place." On Saturday I tumbled out of bed at 6 AM and donned my factory clothes. On the way down-town the street-car met with an eight-minute obstruction in the shape of a load of bricks, and when I reached the manufacturing establishment of Julius Stein & Co. it was 8:32 o'clock. The elevator took me up one story and I was told to "get out." I told the boy at the rope that I wished to go up to the work room. "You're too late," he said. "Have to take the freight elevator down at the back of the store." Down I walked as directed past long tables that towered with long cloaks, dolmans, ulsters, jackets, and short wraps; past two or three busy, unobserving clerks, past a pair of forbidding looking men who glared at me from under their black hats and blacker brows; past an earthen-grey stringy crash towel that waved at hast mast above a dirty wash-basin; past a tier of closets that emitted a stifling odor, and on down to the packing room. I waited for a big, lusty packer to finish pummelling the mischevous little Swede who ran the elevator and was carried up to the top floor with a box of cloth. When the car landed I found myself at the extreme end of a room 50 X 180 feet, in an inclosure of wire-fence, packing-boxes, and cutting-boards, beyong and between which I could see perhaps two-hundred persons, mostly women, bent over machines, and working only as slaves ever work. The thundering [two unreadable words] of the machinery deadened every other [two undreadable words] even that made by the cutters as they ran their heavy shears through the [undreadable] and muslin trimmings.
Chicago Times 1888-08-01
". . .The story of the cruise of the “blackbird” steamer Montserrat was told in yesterday’s “Examiner” by the special correspondent, mr. W.H. Brommage, who had shipped as a sailor for the voyage. In obedience to the instructions under which he set out Mr. Brommage confined his narrative to a simple and accurate statement of the facts with no attempt of sensational effect. In fact, the story was modified by the suppression of some details which would have thrown the horrors of the traffic into stronger relief. To-day our correspondent makes some additions to his narrative which will be found exceedingly interesting. . ."
". . .On the 23rd of last April the tramp steamer Montserrat left San Francisco for the ostensible purpose of a trading voyage among the South Sea islands, but in reality, as was suspected at the time, to go on a slave-trading expedition. Her purpose was to make laboring contracts with the simple people of the islands to work on the plantations of the fever-stricken west coast of Guatemala for five years. On the face of it, the contract is legitimate, but when it is known that for little or not pay these people leave their beautiful island home, go into a strange country, among a people whose language they do not understand, live like dogs and die like sheep in the cane-covered marshes, and under the burning suns of tropical Guatemala, the cruelty of such deportation becomes apparent. Such traffic in the South Seas has gone on for years under the familiar name of “blackbirding,” but the ships that come out of the Western Pacific, packed with the half-garbed natives of the islands, are no less slavers than those swift barks that in other days sailed from the west coast of Africa to the southern shores of America. This enterprise was under the joint management of San Francisco and Central American capital. The manager-in-chief of the expedition was W.H. Ferguson, whose connection with a similar slave ship, the ill-fated Tahiti, in which 400 natives were drowned, will be remembered. In command of the Montserrat was Captain Blackburn. Dr. R.J. McGittigen of San Francisco, a graduate of the Cooper Medical College, accompanied the expedition as surgeon, and James S. Osborne, a young San Franciscan, went along as passenger. With a full crew, provisions and supplies to last four months the vessel sailed, and after visiting eleven islands of the Gilbert group carried 388 imprisoned laborers to San Jose de Guatemala, and there delivered them to the wealthy Spanish plantation owners, who lodged them upon their sugar plantations along the coast to labor out the five years of their contract or to die with the infectious diseases coming to that marsh district. On board the Montserrat was a reporter of the “Examiner” in the guise of and performing the functions of a sailor. His vivid story of the methods used to secure the laborers, their weary voyage of twenty-three days from their sea-girt (?) home to Guatemala’s coast, their painful journeys overland to the plantations in the interior is told below. . ."
It will be conceded that the first act in the bloody drama of the American Conflict had its climax on the 2nd of December, 1859, when John Brown of Ossawatomie was hung at Charlestown, Virginia.
Lotos Leaves 1875-01-01
San Francisco, Sept. 7 (Special). - Much interest is taken here in the brig Tahiti, which is now lying in Drake's Bay, near here, with 300 Gilbert Islanders in the hold. The vessel is American, yet she is engaged in carrying these islanders to San Benito, Mexico, to work on coffee plantations. Captain Fergusen explains that his human cargo was secured by legitimate contract, and that when their period of service is completed the Mexican Government agrees to return them to their homes.
The New York Tribune 1891-09-08
In the account published in The Tribune yesterday of the wreck of th brig Tahiti, the dispatch, which of passengers, 270 in number, all of whom are believed to be lost, as "South Sea slaves." Humphrey H, Leavitt, of this city, who was a three-fourths owner of the brig, and Captain C. Erickson, who was in command, are also supposed to have perished.
The New York Tribune 1891-12-01
The cruise of the Helena made it very clear that malpractice in the recruiting of islanders is, practically, impossible under the existing system. The traffic is hedged in by legislation in every direction. A ship-owner who intends to bring islanders to Queensland must give a preliminary notice, stating where the vessel is lying, what condition she is in, how many islanders it is desired to carry, what islands she is to visit, and what limit he will place on the duration of the voyage. He has then to apply for a license.
The Argus 1892-12-22
Brought by my duties into close and daily contact with the boys, I had soon to acknowledge that though many of them were savages in reality, there was much of ordinary human nature in them all.
The Argus 1892-12-20
An unusual thing happened on the Sunday night. At 10 o’clock a large canoe came alongside, and its occupants – six youth from Coolacombor, where we got our last two recruits – offered themselves as labourers for Queensland. Could the natives be in league against me? One of the chief objects of my mission was to see and expose the misrepresentations, the cajolery, and the kidnapping, by force or fraud, which certain controversialists alleged to be inseparable from the Polynesian labour traffic. So far I had seen nothing which could be twisted to mean any of those things. On the contrary, I had witnessed natives face danger and overcome difficulties that would have been insurmountable without great determination to join the ship.
The Argus 1892-12-19
We explained that a large number of boys, on learning that the labour traffic was to cease, and that they would probably have no chance of recruiting again for Queensland, re-engaged for another term without leaving the plantations, and it was more than probable that the friends asked for were amongst that number.
The Argus 1892-12-17
On Monday a recruiter made a fair start. At a beach village named Corpew, where the boats were sheltered from the full force of the ocean rollers by outlying reefs, he found himself thronged with natives. It was a lively crowd, chiefly intent on selling produce, birds, and the discarded European clothing of former recruits - all for tobacco and pipes. Two boys offered as recruits. One was refused on the score of youth; the other was accepted at the apprentice wage of six pounds a year.
The Argus 1892-12-16
On Friday (September 22) the Helena shifted to Urassie, 11-miles northward. A comfortable anchorage was found inside long lines of reef and close to a creek, whence a supply of excellent water was obtained. Next morning a native market was held near by. From half-a-dozen islets which studded the reefs a small army of people, chiefly women, came in canoes to barter fish for yams and taro from the bush natives.
The Argus 1892-12-15
We had now 16 recruits, and I found for the first time that they had a certain amount of English to learn by rote before they reached Queensland. Perhaps this was not absolutely necessary, but it was evidently regarded as highly desirable. In this matter, too, it was thought that the sooner they commenced their lessons all the better would it be in the end. So when the time came on Sunday for distributing their weekly supply of tobacco and pipes they were put through their facings.
The Argus 1892-12-12
Poor Oleseemar, the consumptive return, was now within a dozen miles of his home. He had wasted steadily from day to day in spite of nourishing food and medicine. At Maron Sound he crawled to the poop for an airing and asked for some tea. He was always supplied with whatever he fancied in the way of food, and tea with biscuit was what he liked best.
The Argus 1892-12-10
One young man, with large and wondering eyes and open mouth, listened to all that was said about the good masters and abundant ki-ki (food) in Queensland, and as to recruits being brought back by-and-by with ‘big fellow’ boxes of their own. He had also the eager look of a youth who desired to see something of the outside world, and he lingered much, first by one boat and then by the other. But he could not apparently make up his mind. Now he would, and then he wouldn’t or couldn’t; and he had to be left in his indecision.
The Argus 1892-12-09
So here was an islander who had learned by experience what the so-called slavery in Queensland was, and who was seeking another term of bondage. Where had he worked before? ‘Bundaberg!’ – the very place we were recruiting for, and he was so well posted as to have the Christian name of our recruiter at the tip of his tongue. He was in short thoroughly au fait with the whole business, and wide awake.
The Argus 1892-12-08
Meanwhile Mr. Mulhern had returned with his trade-box, and was calling for fresh recruits. No doubt different recruiters have different styles. I should imagine that Tom Gash used to be genial and demonstrative. I have been told of one who depended on grotesque antics and Cheap Jack oratory for his success. Mr. Mulhern is not demonstrative, and there is nothing of the buffoon in his manner.
The Argus 1892-12-07
When they heard that land was in sight, the ‘boys’ deserted their quarters and crowded the bows and rigging. After a prolonged absence, they looked once more on the higher outlines of the first of their native isles. They seemed deeply interested, and were remarkably serious. If they were glad, it was not in a demonstrative way. There was no shouting, no ringing cheer. What was the meaning of their seemingly apathetic demeanour? Did they realize that they were about to pass from civilization back into savagedom – from the care of a parental Government back to the lawless tyranny of island life; from bread, meat, and etceteras in abundance to a scramble for native food; from peace to war; from a country where toil is rewarded and protected to one where might only is right?
The Argus 1892-12-06
The ‘bed rock,’ so to speak, of the discussion is the assertion made far and wide that the traffic is a form of slavery, the labourers being decoyed into servitude and cruelly treated. If there was no such accusation there would be no agitation worthy of the name, but the charge has been made and persistently repeated. With a view, therefore, to obtaining an absolutely reliable insight into the manner in which the traffic is conducted, the proprietors of The Argus determined upon a bold and difficult enterprise. They resolved, if possible, to send a representative secretly to the scene of the recruiting, so that every phrase of the work might be watched and impartially and fully reported upon. A capable, experienced, and trusted journalist, who has been very successful in many important ventures requiring tact, discrimination, and perseverance, was selected to the duty, and he has just returned to Melbourne after a four months’ cruise in the Solomon Islands in the labour schooner Helena.
The Argus 1892-12-03