Wednesday, 1 June 2016

SOLD INTO SLAVERY

Just came upon this, from 1699

NOTE: ‘Trepanning’ here means not sawing off the top of his victims’ skulls, but rather, ‘ensnaring’.

John Smith, of London, labourer, was indicted for a misdemeanour for kidnapping and trepanning one Joseph Portall a Jew, on board of ship, and causing him to be conveyed to Maryland, in parts beyond the seas into slavery. and he was likewise indicted for spiriting and trepanning of Samuel Cooper a Christian youth, of the age of 16 years, who he also sent into slavery. The evidence for the king, on the first indictment, proved very fully, that the said Portall, who came from Ceuta in Africa, to see his friends in England, and had been here but two days, was enticed off from the exchange to an office by St. Mary-hill, and there bound to serve Smith the prisoner, and that from that time he was sent on board, and seen in England no more; and the evidence for the king to the second indictment, was Cooper’s parents, who had sent their child on a Sunday morning to church, and never saw him more, nor heard of him till they found at the said office that he also was bound to smith the prisoner, and sent away with the Jew: it was also affirmed that the said john smith had lately bound several hundreds of young people at the said office, who are all sent for slaves as aforesaid. the prisoner had council learned in the law, allowed him for his defence; as for the facts charged in the two indictments, they owned them both, and pretended to justify the action by a patent for binding all manner of persons that were willing to serve in the plantations; which patent was produced and read in court, where it did appear the intent and meaning of the said patent and office was to prevent any unfair practices of this nature, and to hinder any person being sent away contrary to his own freewill and the consent of his parents or friends, which consent the prisoner could not prove; one of the prisoner's friends who appeared in his behalf, did affirm that he had spoke to Samuel Cooper in Irish before he was bound, who declared himself willing to go, but on examination of that matter it appeared that cooper had always lived with his parents about London, and had never been in Ireland, or ever could speak Irish; which witness was ordered by the court to be secured, then the prisoner pretended he was only a servant, and had 10 s. per. week allowed him for what he did, and would have shifted the fact from himself; he called no body to his reputation, but on the other hand several bad things were fixed on him, particularly that after he was committed, he said he valued not what they could do to him, for 'twas but to look through a pair of nutcracks. he was so enraged against one Mr Jacob Kysor who had caused him to be apprehended and prosecuted, that he wisht he had his heart broiled on coals, for he would eat it, and drink his blood after it: after the evidence was summed up, the jury, brought smith in guilty of both the indictments.



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