“Slave keeping [is] custom that casts the most indelible odium on a whole people, causing some...

to infer that they are a different race formed by the Creator for brutal service, to drudge for us with their brethren of the stalls.” -- Providence Gazette, 1773 “Whereas, there is a common course practised amongst Englishmen to buy negers, to the end that they have them for service or slaves forever; for the preventinge of such practises among us, let it be ordered, that no blacke mankind or white being forced by covenant blood or otherwise, to serve any man or his assignes longer than ten yeares, or untill they come to bee twentie-four yeares of age, if they be taken in under fourteen, from the time of their cominge within the liberties of this collonie. And at the end or terme of ten years to set them free as the manner is with English servants.” --Rhode Island General Court, 1652 “[W]ithout this trade [the slave trade, and the provisioning trade with the Caribbean], it would have been and will always be, utterly impossible for the inhabitants of this colony to subsist themselves, or to pay for any considerable quantity of British goods.” --“Remonstrance of the Colony of Rhode Island to the Board of Trade, 1764 “Liberty is the greatest blessing that men enjoy, and slavery is the heaviest curse that human nature is capable of ... those who are governed at the will of another, and whose property may be taken from them...without their consent...are in the miserable condition of slaves.” --“Remonstrance of the Colony of Rhode Island to the Board of Trade, 1764 “Paid Henry Paget, Esq. for 12 ½ Days Work of his Negro Pero.” “To 12 days work of Earle's Negro.” “To 10 Days work of Mary Young's Negro Man.” --From construction records of University Hall, 1770 and 1771 Member should “avoid being in any way concerned in reaping the unrighteous profits of that unrighteous practice of dealing in Negroes and other slaves – in direct violation of the gospel rule which teaches every one to do as he would be done by.” --Yearly [Quaker] Meeting in Newport, 1760 “If this trade admits of a moral or a rational justification every crime, even the most atrocious, may be justified.” -- John Wesley, Thoughts upon Slavery, 1774 “I saw my slaves with my spiritual eyes as plainly as I see you now and it was given to me as clearly to understand that the sacrifice that was called for of my hand was to give them liberty. “ – Moses Brown, 1773 “Whereas I am clearly convinced that the buying and selling of men of what color soever

is contrary to the Divine Mind manifest in the conscience of all men however some may smother and neglect its reprovings, and being also made sensible that the holding of negroes in slavery however kindly treated has a tendency to encourage the iniquitous practice of importing them from their native country and is contrary to that justice, mercy, and humanity enjoined as the duty of every christian, I do therefore by these presents for myself, my heirs etc. manumit and set free the following negroes being all I am possessed of or any ways interested in.” – Moses Brown, 1773 “[The slave trade] has beene permitted by the Supreeme Governour of all things for time Immemorial, and whenever I am Convinced as you are, that its Rong in the Sight of God, I will Immediately Dessist . . .but while its not only allowd by the Supreeme Governour of all States but by all the Nations of Europe...I cannot thinke this State ought to Decline the trade.” --John Brown, 1786 “[I]n my opinion there is no more crime in bringing off a cargo of slaves than in bringing off a cargo of jackasses.” --John Brown, “The inhabitants of Rhode Island, especially those of Newport, have had by far the greatest share of this traffic of all these United States. This trade in the human species has been the first wheel of commerce in Newport, on which every other movement in business has chiefly depended. That town has been built up, and flourished in times past, at the expense of the blood, the liberty, and the happiness of the poor Africans; and the inhabitants have lived on this, and by it have gotten most of their wealth and riches.” --Rev. Samuel Hopkins, Providence Gazette, 1787 “[The claim] that one who was formed with a dark complexion is inferior to him, who possesses a complexion more light. [could] never be admitted by any except those who are prompted by avarice to encroach upon the sacred rights of their fellow men, and are vainly endeavoring to appease a corroding conscience.” -- James Tallmadge, College of Rhode Island senior, 1790 “[A]s to the clothing of the slaves on the plantations, they are said to be furnished by their owners or masters, every year, each with a coat and trousers, of a coarse woolen or woolen and cotton stuff (mostly made, especially for this purpose, in Providence, R.I.).” --Frederick Law Olmsted, 1853 This is an effort designed to involve the campus community in a discovery of the meaning of our past. . . . Understanding our history and suggesting how the full truth of that history can be incorporated into our common traditions will not be easy. But, then, it doesn’t have to be. --Ruth Simmons, 2004

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