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Worcester (Massachusetts) Spy,

September 1831

(exact date unknown),

reprinted in the Liberator (Boston), September 17, 1831


        Slave Insurrection.—The Southampton tragedy appears to be drawing to a close. The insurrection is suppressed, and it only now remains to try and punish the offenders. During the progress of this affair, scenes have been enacted of a more savage and blood-thirsty character, than any which have occurred in this country since its early conflicts with the savages, with the single exception of Gen. Jackson’s barbarous massacre of the Indians, after he had gotten them into his power, at the Horse Shoe Bend. The blacks made an indiscriminate slaughter of all who fell within their reach, without distinction of age or sex, and the whites on their part, shot down the blacks, even when prisoners completely within their power, and frequently on suspicion only, with as little compunction or remorse as they would destroy a venomous reptile or a ferocious wild beast. These barbarities indicate a callousness of heart, which could have been produced only by a long familiarity with scenes of cruelty and oppression—a callousness and desperation of character, which give fearful omen of future conflicts, compared with which, that now past, is but the merest child’s play. The consciousness of insecurity and the dread of renewed troubles, are apparent in everything we see from the vicinity of the late rising, even in the articles which are intended to quiet the fears of the community. So apparent are these fears, that in papers of high standing, the atrocious threat has been made and repeated, that another rising like that in Southampton, shall be the signal for the indiscriminate destruction of the whole African race in the Southern Country! A more blood-thirsty idea never entered into the imagination of the veriest despot that ever lived. To give over a whole race of two millions of human beings to butchery and destruction, and all for the fault of a few misguided and deluded individuals, would be an act of fiend-like enormity without its parallel in the history of modern times.


        If such feelings are indulged on the part of the whites, how much stronger must those be that are now smothered and concealed in the bosom of the blacks, who considered themselves as deeply injured and oppressed, by being deprived of that freedom which they are taught so highly to prize, even by their masters themselves, whenever they speak in reference to the Greeks, the Poles, or the oppressed of any country than our own? With such feelings, then, as they are mutually cherished, and with such dispositions as have been developed, a long [p. 85] period of quiet is not to be anticipated, and when the evil day shall come, terrible will be the coming thereof.



Henry Irving Tragle, The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, MA: The University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), 84-85.


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