Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Slave-gangs, press-gangs and emancipation in the American Revolution

      This essay for the Black Historians Conference - ASALH - next Thursday in Atlanta explores the connections between sailors, black and white, a motley crew as Marcus Rediker calls them, resisting forced Impressment into the British navy and the military competition between the Crown and the Patriots which I stressed in Black Patriots and Loyalists.  As you will see, it is quite a dazzling story...

       Comments are welcome.


Slave-gangs, press-gangs and emancipation in the American Revolution

                           For Staughton and Alice Lynd and Vincent Harding

“The black-fkin'd and the white-ikin'd, being all of the fame fpecies, all of the htiman race, are, by nature, upon an equality, one man in a ftate of nature, as we are with refpedt to the inhabitants of Guinea, and they with refpeft to us, is not fuperior to another man, nor has any authority or dominion over him, any right to lay his commands upon him. He that made us made them, and all of the fame clay. We are all the workmanfhip of his hands, and he hath affign'd this globe to the human race, to dwell upon, he hath given this earth in common to the children of men. Some portion of it may indeed, in a ftate of nature, be made property, or be appropriated to the ufe, and be be at the abfolute difpofal t£ one particular perfon, and one man may have more fubftance, or wealth, or he may have greater bodily ftrength, and greater fagacity, than another, and by thefe he may be able to bring that other entirely under his power, to deprive him of his liberty, and to take away his
life, whenever he pleafes ; yet all thefe advantages do not give him, that is poffefled of them any authority over his fellow- man, or right to command him. Notwithstanding all thefe, they are equally free, and independent one of another, God gave to man dominion over the (a) fijh of the fea, and over the jowl
of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earthy and over every creeping thing, that creepeib upon the earth ; but not to any one man over another. Nor can one man, on any fuppofition whatever, become the property, or part of the goods or eftate of another man, as his horfe, or his dog is.” – J. Philmore,“Two Dialogues on the Man-trade,” 1760, pp. 7-8

“Unjuftly to deprive a man of his property, is theft, or of his life, is murder, whatever colour he is of, and the murder of a man, that has a black fkin, or black hair, is as great a fin, as that of a man, that has a white fkin, or white hair.” - Philmore, “Two Dialogues on the Man-trade,” 1760, p. 8

“In this confusion two popular members of the Council endeavoured, but in vain, to appease the mob by speaking to 'em from the balcony of the Council Chamber; after which the Speaker of the House and others of the Assembly press'd me much to speak two or three words to 'em, only promising to use my endeavours with Mr. Knowles to get the impress'd inhabitants and some of the outward bound seamen discharg'd; which, against my inclinations, and to prevent their charging any bad Consequences, which might happen from this tumult upon my refusal, I yielded to; and in this parley one of the mob, an inhabitant of the town call'd upon me to deliver up the Lieutenant of the Lark, which I refus'd to do; after which among other things he demanded of me, why a boy, one Warren now under sentence of death in goal for being concern'd in a press gang, which kill'd two sailors in this town in the act of impressing, was not executed; and I acquaint'd 'em his execution was suspended by his Majesty's order 'till his pleasure shall be known upon it; whereupon the same person, who was the mob's spokesman ask'd me "if I did not remember Porteous's case who was hang'd upon a sign post in Edinburgh I told 'em very well, and that I hop'd they remember'd what the consequence of that proceeding was to the inhabitants of the city; after which I thought it high time to make an end of parleying with the mob, and rerir'd into the Council Chamber: The issue of this was that the mob said they would call again at the Council Chamber the next day to know whether the impressed men were discharg'd; and went off to a dock yard upon proposal made among 'em to burn a twenty gun ship now building there for his Majesty – “Governor Stanley to the Board of Trade” on the Knowles Riot against Impressment, 1747

“Such cruelty and tyranny [the press gang] ought to be held in the most hateful contempt, the same as you would a banditti of slave-makers on the coast of Africa.” John Allen “Oration on the Beauties of Liberty,” (original 1772; 4th edition 1773)       

“Ah the poor lad in yonder boat
Forced from his Wife, his Friends, his home
Now gentle Maiden, how can you
Look at the misery of his doom”

-       Elizabeth Barrett (Browning), “on the cruelty of forcement to man” 1812,  her first poem, age 6

      This essay draws a picture of the mass sentiment, embodied in the intense, often violent, revolutionary actions of crowds, for emancipation on the Patriot side before the American Revolution.  Over more than 10 years preceding the outbreak of war, these acts  – Impressment riots, riots against the Stamp Act and the quartering of British occupiers in American houses, the burning of British tax ships, the Boston Tea Party, and the like – led to gradual emancipation throughout the North during and after the Revolution.  The first section will focus on this central movement, both leading up to the Revolution and to the creation of a comparatively free North, the Revolution’s highest accomplishment in terms of liberty; it will also suggest why the abolitionism of crowds and gradual emancipation are not widely recognized or commented upon even among anti-slavery historians (as most are today).    In addition, it will underline the international solidarity of English sailors and townspeople, even mayors, protesting in solidarity with their “American brothers”  at the start of the Revolution.  The second section will examine the reformation by sailors, who led rebellious crowds, throughout the Eighteenth Century, of John Locke’s argument on equality in the state of nature to include, starting with J. Philmore’s 1760 ‘Two Dialogues on the Man-trade,” black as well as white. It will discuss Locke’s own role in the Man-trade of indigenous people in the Carolinas and its undercutting effect on The Second Treatise, and emphasize an even stronger and more relevant formulation of the state of nature, one that includes the equality of red, black and white, women[i] and men, all humans.  The third section will draw out the analogies between Man-hunting and Impressment (Sailor-hunting).  The conclusion will explore the fallacies of common forms of moral relativism about such paradigm ethical issues – a self-refuting view - in the disciplines of history and indigenous studies.  About the Man-trade, as I underlined in Democratic Individuality (1990), any minimal notion of human wellbeing requires plain moral wording; a “value-neutral conception” of slavery is a pro-Man-owner conception…. 

                                         1. The Abolitionism of Sailors and Slaves
        In 2012, transforming an long historical stream but mainly in post-Civil Rights movement historical writing about the Revolution, my Black Patriots and Loyalists brought out the central military competition between the Crown and the Patriots for black soldiers which  promoted emancipation on both sides.  Ironically, the British are more famed for this in recent, mainstream history and, for different reasons, among black socialists like Gilbert Horne and Glen Ford, although Gary Nash came to a similar conclusion to mine – without the explanatory or causal emphasis on military competition -in 2006.[ii] But for most of the mainstream, for instance, in  the New York Times-sponsored industry of biographies of Presidents and Founders (Benjamin Franklin, for example), black agency does not exist.[iii]  Instead, for example, in Thomas Jefferson: the Art of Power (2012), Jon Meacham writes about the author of the Declaration of Independence anachronistically from the standpoint of present-day problems – how Jefferson defeated “gridlock” – and ironically, thinks that criticism of Jefferson’s role as a horrifying slave-owner is “anachronistic.”[iv]  He forgot to ask Sally Hemings and her descendants their view of the matter, let alone to consider the pressure from below, emanating mainly from black soldiers as well as others, which had achieved, by Jefferson’s Presidency, gradual emancipation throughout the North.

       For military and abolitionist pressure – the revolution for freedom was evidently, as James Otis had said from 1761 on and particularly in The Rights of the British Colonists Asserted and Proved (1764), for “black as well as white.”  Samuel Johnson’s resonant mockery of the  first Continental Congress in 1775–“ how come we hear the greatest yelps for liberty from the drivers of Negroes?”[v] – was something many Patriots were aware of and had long detested, even though this invective, based on a dispiriting truth about the British cause, has long been whited out of American high school and college history texts.  In fact, mainstream history writing about the American Revolution has celebrated only the democratic freedom of some (Hegel) in the first anti-colonial revolution, and mainly avoided or mentioned in passing what I have named America’s twin Founding Amnesias, its genocides against blacks and indigenous people.

          The Declaration of Independence, long embraced even by pre-Civil War abolitionists, avows this dreadful, final grievance against King George to the world:

         He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”[vi]

        Thus, even at their revolutionary best, Jefferson and the Patriots feared uprisings of blacks, linked to Dunmore’s Proclamation of November 7, 1775 freeing all blacks and indentured servants who came to the British side. These were the “domestic insurrections,” in which Jefferson, previously declaring the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of all, could not name the agents, of black men and women - each with those rights…- against their masters.[vii]    Jefferson also knew better about indigenous people who had often welcomed the settlers and in any case, were not murderous unless attacked (the colonists, recall, had muskets, and it was always clear who was most in danger…).  But Jefferson deliberately projected on alleged Savages the colonists’ merciless practices.[viii]  

       Call the former the Hagiographic or 4th of July View of Presidents, even when subtle and, to some extent, critical of the leaders,[ix] the latter, in the words of path-breaking historians like Jesse Lemisch, Staughton Lynd, Marcus Rediker, Peter Linebaugh and others, democratic history from the bottom up.[x]    

       The revolution from below, as I emphasize in Black Patriots and Loyalists – a  Second Revolution ignored or hidden on the standard account – was inspired by slave revolts in the Caribbean, the most fierce and long-lasting being Tacky’s Rebellion in Jamaica in 1760, followed by a series of some 20 uprisings between that year and 1775.  In Rediker’s words: 

      “Tacky’s Revolt initiated a new phase of slave resistance.   Major plots and slave revolts erupted in Bermuda and Nevis (1761), Surinam (1762, 1763, 1768-1772), Jamaica (1776), British Honduras (1765, 1768, 1773), Grenada (1765), Montserrat (1768), St. Vincent (1769-1775), Tobago (1770, 1771, 1774), St. Croix and St. Thomas (1770 and after) and St. Kitts (1778).  Veterans of Tacky’s Revolt took part in a rising in British Honduras (where five hundred rebels had been banished), as well as in three other revolts in Jamaica in 1765 and 1766.”[xi]

        This hidden Second, international or Atlantic - the name given today to a field of study by democratic historians - Revolution against bondage spilled over into and was, in fact, a driving force of the American Revolution. In addition, ethically, it extended the freedom of each individual demanded by  the First Revolution for independence to many more Americans.[xii] For the American Revolution was, in very important respects including the crowd action that made it possible and the key fighters at Yorktown, an overflow into the North of these slave rebellions.  Further, often inspired in part by or participated in by fighters from the American Revolution (consider Henri Christophe who fought on the Patriot side with the French at the Battle of Charles Town and Siege of Savannah and then in the great slave uprising in Saint Domingue), every other revolution in the Hemisphere, as Black Patriots and Loyalists underlined, fused, as in Haiti and Venezuela, emancipation, sudden or gradual, and independence, the political freedom of black or brown people with the legal and social freedom of former slaves.

         The emancipation of blacks throughout the North was, in fact, the anti-racist realization of American freedom, which might also have extended, but mostly didn’t, to blocking murder and dispossession against or achieving tolerance of/comparatively decent arrangements with indigenous people.  Instead, the US government continuously stole land from indigenous people, and forced treaties on them through aggression, breaking agreement after agreement.[xiii]   Partly because of a more continuous struggle by blacks from below within American economic/social institutions  preceding the Revolution and continuing after it, the Hagiographic view veils the genocide against Native Americans even more relentlessly…[xiv]

     Now the commercial, Atlantic sphere was knitted by slave ships – more accurately, in Philmore’s words, purveyors of the “Man-trade,” - and other commerce in “commodities.”  Often impressed themselves or fighting against press gangs, sailors supported Tacky’s rebellion in Jamaica and brought the word to London and Boston in 1760.  Tacky’s Revolt lasted 4 months.  After its outbreak, a man who signed himself “J. Philmore” spoke with sailors in London and wrote Two Dialogues on the Man-trade.[xv]  As we will see, Philmore registered the actual, that is, egalitarian and international views of sailors, who were a decisive element in long, battles from below – the often violent crowds in every seaport city in America – which, over 10 years, brought on the Revolution.  Starting with Jesse Lemisch and elaborated by Marcus Rediker,[xvi] social historians, emphasizing democracy, have written about the series of uprisings, internationally – all over the Atlantic world from Antigua and Nevis to London and Liverpool to Boston, Manhattan and Charles Town – which were vital in igniting the Revolution.  For someone had to fight – and these, along with farmers, became the Revolution’s soldiers and sailors…

     The explosive three days Knowles riot in Boston in 1747 was central to the formation of sailor anti-Crown attitudes, re-echoing against press gangs in rebellion after rebellion in the 10 years before the Revolution.  On Lemisch’s account:
      “After the French and Indian War press riots increased in frequency. Armed mobs of whites and Negroes repeatedly manhandled captains, officers, and crews, threatened their lives, and held them hostage for the men they pressed.[xvii] Mobs fired at pressing vessels and tried to board them; they threatened to burn one, and they regularly dragged ships' boats to the center of town for ceremonial bonfires. In Newport in June 1765, five hundred seamen, boys, and Negroes rioted after five weeks of impressment. ‘Sensible’ Newporters opposed impressment but nonetheless condemned this ‘Rabble.’ In Norfolk in 1767 Captain Jeremiah Morgan retreated, sword in hand, before a mob of armed whites and Negroes. ‘Good God,’ he wrote to the governor, ‘was your Honour and I to prosecute all the Rioters that attacked us belonging to Norfolk there would not be twenty left unhang'd belonging to the Toun.’ According to Thomas Hutchinson, the Liberty Riot in Boston in I768 may have been as much against impressment as against the seizure of Hancock's sloop: Romney had pressed before June 10, and on that day three officers were forced by an angry crowd ‘arm'd with Stones’ to release a man newly pressed from the Boston packet.  Romney pressed another man, and on June I4, after warding off  ‘many wild and violent proposals,’ the town meeting petitioned the governor against both the seizure and impressment; the instructions to their representatives (written by John Adams) quoted the Sixth of Anne [Parliamentary legislation barring impressment in North America] at length. On June 18 two councillors pleaded with the governor to procure the release of a man pressed by Romney ‘as  the peace of the Town seems in a great measure to depend upon it.’"
     Underlining the actual centrality of revolts against press gangs in the formation and vigor of Independence crowds, Lemisch continues:
       ‘There were other impressment riots at New York in July of I764 and July of 1765; at Newport in July of I764; at Casco Bay, Maine, in December I764. Incidents continued during the decade following, and impressment flowered on the very eve of the Revolution. Early in I775 the practice began to be used in a frankly vindictive and political way - because a town had inconvenienced an admiral, or because a town supported the Continental Congress.  Impresses were ordered and took place from Maine to Virginia. In September a bundle of press warrants arrived from the Admiralty, along with word of the repeal of the Sixth of Anne. What had been dubious was now legal. Up and down the coast, officers rejoiced and went to work.”[xviii]
       In Lemisch’s famous Yale dissertation, written in 1962 and long whispered about among historians but unavailable for 35 years (at last published by Garland Press in 1997), [xix] this historian from below of the Revolution, fired from the University of Chicago as Staughton Lynd, writing about mechanics, was from Yale as part of disciplinary attempts – here, I am using Foucault’s idiom - to enforce the Hagiographic view, traces the central role of sailors in New York in fighting against the Stamp Acts, the competition of Royal soldiers for jobs – the Battle of Golden Hill in 1770, a less well-known counterpart to, preceding by 6 weeks, the Boston Massacre – the burning of the revenue ship, the Gaspee in 1772,  and  uprisings against many other British impositions.[xx] Sailors, on whale boats for example, used knives to cut open their prey; they also learned to use cutlasses or muskets when  attacked.  Many young men were forced for a long period of time into the British Navy where they were instructed in the uses of violence.  Commonly oppressed, they worked together under difficult, often life-threatening conditions.[xxi]  Ashore, they – and their relatives and those who knew their stories - were fierce opponents of the Crown.  These egalitarian sailors, more than others, gave revolutionary crowds, from the explosive Knowles riot of 1747 against press-gangs to the rebellions against the Stamp Act, the Charles Town freedom marches[xxii]  and the Boston Tea Party their cutting edge. 

      The centrality of sailors’ rebellions against Impressment can be seen in two ways.  First, these were, as Denver Brunsman rightly emphasizes, the only violent uprisings – in self-defense - by crowds.  The Press gangs sought to seize other sailors either from ships (in England) or in ports in the Caribbean and the United States.  These acts themselves were violent and sometimes led to killing (though of course, the gangs wanted the recruits alive).  But sailors would resist, and their relatives and friends would often support them.   Sometimes, they would be killed or they would kill some of the recruiters.  A sailor who was impressed would lose his family (people referred to “Impressment widows”).   As Nauticus would emphasize in the powerful pamphlet “The Rights of the Sailors Vindicated” (1772), their rights, as English subjects, to habeas corpus, to not be seized off the streets, were obliterated by this horrific practice.  On Brunsman’s account,  to develop an ostensible Atlantic and wider “Empire of liberty” – a boast of the English elite - by seizing sailors off the street or merchant ships to man Imperial fleets was a shocking contradiction.

       Second, the Navy was key to a much expanded British Empire.  A limited practice in the 13th century, Impressment became in the 18th a major one.[xxiii]   The Empire fought throughout the 18th century, a century of constant wars against Spain, especially over the Malvinas/Falkland Islands, and France ending with the Napoleonic wars (the Navy was also crucial to Empire, despite a period of “peace” among the great powers, in the 19th century and on into World War I).   According to Nicholas Rogers, some half a million people were “recruited” in England in the 18th century, about half by Impressment[xxiv]; a quarter of the adult population, he estimates,  was directly threatened by it.  So press gangs were always busy.  But in addition, a much larger part of the population was deeply affected.  The phrase “Impressment widow”   was but a gesture.  For Rogers recounts the grim story of the Irish teenager Mary Jones, impoverished after her husband was pressed during the phony Falklands war scare of 1770. She was tried for shoplifting a small remnant of muslin and quickly dispatched at the gallows, suckling one of her children even as the noose was put around her neck.”[xxv]

       As a result of Impressment, the betrayal of the proclaimed liberty or rights of an Englishman was always in the faces of the poor.  According to Rogers, between 1738 and 1805, there were some 604 “affrays”/demonstrations against press gangs.[xxvi]  As has not been sufficiently emphasized by historians (Lemisch and Rediker understand this more, though Brunsman, in particular, underplays the centrality of these revolts to the Revolution[xxvii]), this vast, Atlantic-wide succession of rebellions against Impressment was the key feature of the lead up to the Revolution, since they mobilized sailors against the Crown, motivated them to participate vigorously in all the other demonstrations, and taught them and their relatives, in Lockean terms, the need for violent self-defense.  In America, press-gangs made revolutionaries.[xxviii]

         David Cooper, a New Jersey Quaker who did not fight, wrote  “A Serious Address to the Rulers of America: in their Inconsistency in supporting slavery” (1783), which contrasted the demands of Americans for freedom from taxation with the frequent use of the retrieved taxes to maintain bondage.[xxix]  Denying freedom to a man for his whole life makes a three penny tax on tea seem not very important. Further, despite its reputation in contemporary American public school education as the revolutionary event, the Boston Tea Party – oddly dressing up as Native Americans - as well as the Stamp Act revolts and the burning of the revenue ship, the Gaspee – “No Taxation with Representation” - were fought mainly in the interests of Boston merchants who were often, as we will see, uncertain or vacillating about revolution.  And  yet no demand or action had revolutionary meaning unless pursued vigorously by sailors  whose grievances – particularly their violent hunting and seizure by the Royal Navy – seem rather closer to what slaves suffered.    

        Now as Brunsman emphasizes, the bondage of sailors suffered was not permanent and though recruited by force, many were, upon agreeing to join or after serving, offered some pay and after some years, released.[xxx]   Nonetheless, sailors and others saw the uprisings of blacks against Man-ownership in the Caribbean as akin to their own situation.  It was the violence of these two institutions – slave-gangs, press-gangs - that gave birth to the widespread abolitionism from below among seamen which would spread widely among the poor before the Revolution and in the Revolutionary rank-and-file.

      In addition, British soldiers were quartered on American houses, and, given scanty military pay,  competed with Americans for jobs.  Both the Battle of Golden Hill in Manhattan and the Boston Massacre came from this central issue from below (and Crispus Attucks, a former slave and leader of the Boston protest, was a sailor…).   The grievances of sailors and the poor drove the revolution. 
      In fact, since no revolutions happen without ordinary people, suffering, as Locke,[xxxi] Jonathan Mayhew, responding in 1750 to the Knowles riot,[xxxii] and the Declaration of Independence[xxxiii] say, a long, unbroken pattern of abuses – and what was more a centuries-old patterned abuse than press-gangs? -  and willing to fight the oppressor[xxxiv] and since Washington’s army were made up of artisans and farmers and the navy, of sailors, the impact and energy of the Revolution stems centrally from below.  Thus, to write the history of the American Revolution omitting this, to write mainly about “Founding Fathers” but not the ordinary people who made the Revolution go, is to falsify what is most important in understanding Revolution not as a local eccentricity (despite the Civil War, America has long been, in foreign policy, an anti-revolutionary or “Manifest Destiny” power),[xxxv] but as part of revolutions internationally.  Studies of the crowd, traced by George Rude in the French Revolution and in E.P. Thompson’s brilliant Making of the English Working Class and “the ‘Moral Economy’  of the English Crowd,”[xxxvi]  focus on this central feature, the diverse viewpoints of ordinary people in revolutionary activity.  But from the standpoint of ethics and democratic theory, this theme also reflects and strengthens democracy and a common good, an interest in immigrants, indigenous people and citizens, female and male, rather than stories of “great men.”.

         Even in the run-up to the Revolution itself, however, the idea of limiting or stifling crowd violence, led by sailors, was important to middle class radicals.  Pauline Meier’s important From Resistance to Revolution traces a kind of Lockean support for revolution against tyranny – justified on a natural law basis against “any Lyon or Tyger one might meet in the jungle” [xxxvii] - but also an attempted limitation by leadership to restrained, moderate or legal protest.  In a way, this is an odd reading of Locke since the Second Treatise is, in chapter 19 “On the Dissolution of Government”  a flamboyant defense of  violent revolution.  As the press gangs incarnate tyrannical violence, the sailors’ actions were self-defense. [xxxviii] 

        Yet Locke, too, emphasizes a King becoming a Tyrant who effectually disbands government and thus, a possible revolution to restore a rule of law. And even Jonathan Mayhew 1850 powerful sermon, inspired by the Boston uprising against Impressment, of 1747, “A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-Resistance to the Higher Powers," though it justified revolutionary violence in self-defense,[xxxix]  was, in part, a restorative defense of law against tyranny-reading of Locke:

          The next question which naturally arises, is, whether this resistance which was made to the king by the parliament [during the Puritan Revolution which cut off King Charles’s head…], was properly rebellion, or not? The answer to which is plain, that it was not; but a most righteous and glorious stand, made in defense of the natural and legal rights of the people, against the unnatural and illegal encroachments of arbitrary power. Nor was this a rash and too sudden opposition. The nation had been patient under the oppressions of the crown, even to long suffering;--for a course of many years; and there was no rational hope of redress in any other way--Resistance was absolutely necessary in order to preserve the nation from slavery, misery and ruin.”

          Now, one might recall, the trend among lawyers and merchants which Meier emphasizes culminated in a Constitution which underwrote slavery, and in the keeping of democratic crowds away from the Convention. Even Tom Paine held this view for a time (he changed when persecuted in France after 1791…), as well as Sam Adams, whose writings in the Independent Advertiser in 1748-49, as Marcus Rediker emphasizes, saw the diversity of Irish, Dutch, Portuguese, black and white sailors and named universal rights.  Prefiguring Philmore, Adams realized that the multiracial, multinational movement was the driving force in making a free regime: “All Men are by nature on a Level: born with an equal Share of Freedom, and endow’d with Capacities nearly alike.”[xl]  

       Yet even Adams betrayed his striking support for crowds during the Revolution to demand suppression as “traitors” in 1787 of the Shays’ rebellion – a revolt made up of farmer-soldiers like Captain Daniel Shays demanding that they retain, against banker/merchant predators, their lands as Washington had once promised when recruiting them…

         Revolution from below was needed against Britain, but for many Founders, even including Sam Adams, not against their own – and merchants’ - later abuses.  Perhaps surprisingly, Thomas Jefferson, who admirably celebrated the Shays’ rebellion and declared “the tree of liberty must be watered every 20 years with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants,” lost his wits when faced with the slave insurrection in Saint-Domingue which created Haiti in 1803.  Jefferson referred then to having “a wolf by the ears” as an excuse for operating not as a great revolutionary, an enthusiast of education and freedom of religion and an international figure of Enlightenment, but as a mere slave-owner.

       But during this era, most sailors, artisans, farmers and slaves could not write.  As a result, few of their stories are available in their own words, whereas Franklin,[xli]  Jefferson and other leaders often leave texts, at least letters or speeches.  It is thus hard, except from their actions and a few reports, to trace the diversity of their thoughts; it is easier, as well as, often, a matter of prejudice about what and who is important for historians to rely on these expressions of opinion – or on newspapers of the time, often edited by those of similar prejudices - or in studying refurbished great houses like Monticello rather than vanished shacks of African-Americans (see the appendix below on attempts in 2015 to find the latter…) – in contrast to  trying, as, for example, Jesse Lemisch does in his dissertation, to hear the voices of the poor, the rank and file of the Revolution.  For Lemisch found such words, only a few, in court documents, for sailors or prostitutes who had been arrested.[xlii]

        Now the revolts against press-gangs are outbursts of fierce opposition.  But to underline their especially determined resistance to the Crown, Lemisch utilizes an important statistical breakdown, by Wallace Brown, of the rates at which members of different social groups among Patriots became Loyalists and, dispossessed in defeat, made claims for losses to the Crown. American sailors were almost unrepresented among such claimants. 
        To a surprising extent American seamen remained Americans during the Revolution. Beaumarchais heard from an American in I775 that seamen, fishermen, and harbor workers had become an ‘army of furious men, whose actions are all animated by a spirit of vengeance and hatred’ against the English, who had destroyed their livelihood ‘and the liberty of their country.’ The recent study of loyalist claimants by Wallace Brown confirms Oliver Dickerson's earlier contention that ‘the volumes dealing with loyalists and their claims discloses an amazing absence of names’ of seamen. From a total of 2786 loyalist claimants whose occupations are known Brown found only 39, I.4 per cent, who were seamen (or pilots). (It is possible to exclude fishermen and masters but not pilots from his figures.) In contrast, farmers numbered 49.I per cent, artisans 9.8 percent, merchants and shopkeepers 18.6 percent, professionals 9.1 per cent, and officeholders 10.1 per cent.[xliii]
         In other words, sailors/dockworkers were 1/49 of farmer Loyalist claimants (2%), 1/18 of merchants and shopkeepers; 1/10 of artisans and former officials, and 1/9 of professionals.  Tellingly, Impressment had thus made sailors/dock-workers, pretty uniformly, enemies of the Crown; they voted with their feet.  In contrast, colonial assemblies and town governments, instruments primarily of merchants, did not approve, from the beginning of the 18th century, sailor-led uprisings against the Crown to retrieve their mates who had been impressed unless they were, somehow, “orderly.”  But had they followed the rules, they would not have achieved their objective…
     “Boston was especially hard-hit by impressment in the 1740's, with frequent incidents throughout the decade and major explosions in I745 and I747. Again and again the town meeting and the House of Representatives protested, drumming away at the same themes: impressment was harmful to maritime commerce and to the economic life of the city in general and illegal if not properly authorized.  In all this the seaman himself becomes all but invisible. The attitude towards him in the protests is at best neutral and often sharply antagonistic. In I747 the House of Representatives condemned the violent response of hundreds of seamen to a large-scale press as ‘a tumultuous riotous assembling of armed Seamen, Servants, Negroes, and others . . . tending to the Destruction of all Government and Order.’ While acknowledging that the people had reason to protest, the House chose to level its protest against "the most audacious Insult" to the governor, Council, and House. And the town meeting, that stronghold of democracy, offered its support to those who took ‘orderly’ steps while expressing its ‘Abhorence of such Illegal Criminal Proceedings’ as those undertaken by the seamen ‘and other persons of mean and Vile Condition.'” [xliv]
    That the armed seamen, including blacks, were the life of the Revolution, the merchants equivocal, and that this expressed class warfare is obvious. And this warfare echoes in today’s academia. Pauline Meier has been rightly celebrated for her scholarship, though she sympathized with the merchants’ view; Jesse Lemisch was driven out of the University of Chicago History Department for embracing the sailors’ moral outrage about the press-gangs - that these were enemies of freedom - comparative loyalty to the Revolution, and sympathizing with the “motley crew.”
    But the solidarity of sailors and even mayors in seaport towns in England was, unsurprisingly, often with the Revolution.  For the sailors had been forced into the Imperial Navy, all over the Empire; they saw themselves as brothers.  For instance, in 1776, the Crown authorized large numbers of press warrants; the sailors, armed, marched together “having resolved to oppose any violence that might be done to them, and rather die than assist the Royalists in shedding the Blood of their American Brethren.”  This was a startling example of democratic solidarity or internationalism from below, anti-patriotic, despising the Royalists’ haughty colonialism.[xlv]  This sentiment even extended to mayors of seaport towns who refused to back press warrants at the outset of the American war (if we think about the anti-Vietnam or anti-Iraq war movements in the United States, this point will not appear too surprising).[xlvi]
      In addition, many famous American revolutionaries like Tom Paine and Ben Franklin, had been to sea as young men.  There, they had been thrust into the company of escaped slaves like Crispus Attucks (African- and Native- American) as well as Irish and Dutch sailors.  Abandoning Locke’s depraved racism and interest in a kind of slavery of some, non-white “prisoners of war,” the idea of natural equality, across races, became clear to sailors and dock-workers.[xlvii]  In the Puritan Revolution, English radicalism – the Levellers and the Diggers – had relied on “the rights of an Englishman.”  These centered on a glorious passage – the root of the writ of habeas corpus, that each prisoner will have a day in court and not be tortured - in the Magna Charta of 1215:

   “No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised of his Freehold or Free Liberties or Free Customs; or outlawed or banished or any way destroyed nor will we pass  upon him or imprison him unless by the legal judgment of his Peers or by the law of the land.” – Magna Charta.[xlviii]

     “Nauticus” invokes this clause in the epigraph and in the main text of his 1772 The Rights of the Sailors Vindicated.  Representing sailors, he wrote it as a reply to “Junius” who vacuously – as a “necessity” of “tradition” or “many precedents” - extols press gangs, in England, and also in white America.  The Magna Charta thus explicitly underpinned the notion of the equal freedom of individuals within England: the rights of an Englishman.  For England, however, the “rights of the poorest he,” the Levellers said, are equal to those of a King, though not yet of the poorest she (thus, England could establish this important freedom for some Englishmen, less for sailors or women, for example, but little or none in its non-white colonies.[xlix])

       In contrast, the sailors’ and Philmore’s thought about natural equality diversely inspired many.   Defending the burning, led by sailors, of the Gaspee, John Allen  begins his “Oration on the Beauties of Liberty” in 1772 by insisting even that the lowliest, insects “in their little sphere,” have an equal, natural freedom:

        As a fly, or a worm, by the law of nature, has as great a right to Liberty, and Freedom (according to their little sphere in life,) as the most potent monarch upon the earth: And as there can be no other difference between your Lordship [Lord Dartmouth], and myself, but what is political, I therefore, without any further apology, take leave to ask your Lordship, whether any one that fears GOD, loves his neighbor as himself, (which is the true Scripture-mark of a christian,) will OPPRESS his fellow-creatures?   If they will, where are the beauties of Christianity?”

     Marcus Rediker’s  “A Motley Crew in the American Revolution,” extended or broadened Lemisch’s work.[l]  In politics and political philosophy, Rediker provided a path-breaking interpretation of Sam Adams’ vision of universal rights, stimulated by the multinational character of sailors fighting press gangs in the Knowles rebellion, as well as Philmore’s “Two Dialogues on the Man-trade.” (1760).[li]   For based on conversations with sailors who had seen Tacky’s Rebellion, Philmore underlines the natural freedom of slaves.  From these anti-press gang and slave uprisings, one might infer a further central further feature of sailors’ and crowd activities in the American Revolution: many poor people opposed bondage.  That helps provide a causal link, along with black recruitment, to gradual emancipation throughout the North. [lii]

     In the broad abolitionist movement in England and America, Philmore’s 1760 pamphlet marks the most thorough transition politically between fighting for the “rights of an Englishman” – central in Nauticus who is inspired by violent anti-impressment riots aboard ship in England, in 1770  - and natural, universal or what we name today human rights (Nauticus also appealed to these).[liii]  Unlike non-abolitionist authors, Philmore replaces the commonly labeled “slave trade” – a pro-bondage title which  falsely legitimizes owners, merchants, and hunters – with the shocking but true name: the Man-trade (that most American Presidents are not ordinarily seen as “Man-owners,” “Man-whippers,” “Man- and child-sellers” - George Washington once raffled off the children of his “slaves” to make money - and murderers[liv] in the early Republic, certainly not deserving of rote lionization in history textbooks or recycled biographies, is evidence of the importance of Philmore’s wording).

         Philmore’s appeal to universal rights is a decisive, morally attractive feature of  this eloquent dialogue which – in the era of Black Lives Matter – ought to be taught, along with Locke, as a piece that makes the Second Treatise decent in American/Atlantic politics,[lv] in every modern political theory, introductory political science and Eighteenth century English/American history course.  For as section 2 will show, Locke not only attempted to justify slavery for black and indigenous people, but was an investor and organizer in Carolina of the largest center of the  “Indian” Man-trade in North America. 

       Based on the abolitionism of sailors who had seen the on-going slave insurrections in the Caribbean, Philmore’s and Otis’s views, Black Patriots and Loyalists (2012) underlines, were discussed in every working class/poor people’s tavern in the 15 years leading up to the American Revolution.  Accompanying, inspiring, and learning from the  public protests of the sailors, slaves and artisans, these discussions made the demand for emancipation central in revolutionary crowds and, as a pressure from below, in the Revolution itself.  Unlike the otherwise eloquent Gerald Horne (2014)[lvi] and even Rediker who sees only the counterrevolution of the Constitution, my account also highlights the victory of gradual emancipation during and after the Revolution in Vermont, not yet a state, 1777, Pennsylvania 1780, Massachusetts 1782, Rhode Island and Connecticut 1784, New York 1799 and New Jersey 1804 .   Gradual emancipation in the North was the acme of freedom, the central moral accomplishment of the American Revolution, analogous to Bolivar’s revolution in Venezuela.  Yet this fact is strangely not stressed by previous historians, as Alfred Young’s long and otherwise striking account of the scholarship on the “transforming hand of revolution,” underlines.[lvii]

       Now George Washington, who had initially acted as but a contemptuous slave-owner and sought to drive blacks out of the Continental Army in 1775, turned around, in the disastrous winter at Valley Forge, and supported a request from Rhode Island officers to recruit some 300 African-Americans in exchange for freedom.  This move led to the creation of the First Rhode Island Regiment, an African-American/Narragansett regimen (there was much cooperation and escape between slaves and indigenous tribes).[lviii]  This Regiment fought through the war – 5 years – as opposed to state militias which fought but 9 months.  Those soldiers who stayed, did not desert and were not killed, became, as Baron von Closen, Washington’s advisor, observed in the march to Yorktown in 1781, “the most neatly dressed, the best under arms and the most precise in maneuvers” among Patriot soldiers.  They were sent on the crucial mission.[lix]  Another black unit was recruited in Connecticut and another in Massachusetts[lx]  According to von Closen, these composed one-quarter of the American forces at Yorktown. Georg Daniel Flohr, a German private fighting for the Royal Deux-Ponts on the American side, walked around the battle field the next day, and wrote in his diary that “most of the corpses on both sides were Mohren (Moors, African-Americans).”

        The role of these fighting units, the experience, as Washington had at Long Island in 1775, of being saved from defeat by the British, by black sailors, and the role of multiracial – in Rediker’s resonant phrase of the time, “motley” – crowds  as well as the increasing recruitment/fighting of black troops throughout the Revolution - provided an internal motor or pressure for gradual emancipation throughout the North.  This explanatory cause complements the decisive competitive military dynamic with the Crown for recruits.  For fearing British defeat using black troops, the latter created a military impetus to emancipation on the Patriot side during the Revolution, a need complement by abolitionist pressure from below. A central purpose of this essay is to emphasize the interconnection within the larger abolitionist movement during the Revolution between these two causes and streams of literature.  For most of the writing on crowds fighting press-gangs – from Lemisch to Rediker to Denver Brunsman – stresses a sweeping international history of revolt in Britain’s Atlantic empire and does not focus on the American Revolution itself.  Alternately, in From Resistance to Revolution, Pauline Meier is less interested in the issue of emancipation from below than in the role in instigating the Revolution, and control of the crowds.  Now, Black Patriots and Loyalists (2012) stressed within the Revolution itself black agency on both sides,  though I also emphasized the international/Atlantic setting.  In addition, I underlined the agitation of John Laurens, a South Carolina abolitionist, solider, and aide de camp to General Washington, but did not highlight as centrally– though  I make this point - the crucial spread of the idea of abolitionism among sailors, craftsmen, indentured servants and farmers into the white population. For the idea of emancipation was central to the politics of crowds.

       It is thus a novel point about the role and impact of abolition – without gradual emancipation during and immediately after the Revolution, there would have been no free North to fight the Civil War and win the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th-15th Amendments, and, even hagiographically speaking, no Lincoln[lxi]  - that there was an interplay between slave uprisings and escape to the Crown as well as competitive military recruitment of African-Americans between the Patriots and the Crown, central themes of Black Patriots and Loyalists, and these Atlantic-wide attacks on press-gangs.  These two trends pressed for central, human that is, “anti-Man-trade” rights.   Yet in studying the “the transforming hand” of the American Revolution, as Young’s long essay reveals, the discipline of American history has elided the creation of a free North.  That discipline has yet to integrate either of these two trends.[lxii]  In contrast, this essay merges them, and focuses on what in Locke was changed – a centrally broadened notion of a state of nature or extension of Lockean to Montesquieuan equality[lxiii]  – rather than offering a somewhat more common emphasis, drawn for instance, from Jonathan Mayhew, “A Discourse concerning Unlimited Submission and Non-resistance to the Higher Powers,” (1750) or in John Allen’s “An Oration on the Beauties of Liberty” on how one may, in self-defense, exert revolutionary blows, even cut off the head, as Charles I, of a monarch become a tyrant.[lxiv]

     Few documents capture the voices of this larger abolitionist movement from below within the Patriot cause. But the demand for emancipation extended far into the rank-and-file movement.  For instance, the soldier-farmers of Western Massachusetts, protested the Constitution in 1787 because it sanctioned bondage.  Here are the words of three of these men to other protestors in The Hampshire Gazette. One of their names, Consider Arms, a pseudonym based on the revolutionary crowds, the justice of abolition as a cause, the Revolution itself and the need of farmer-veterans threatened by merchants/mortgage holders to retain their land, is particularly striking.  As he, Malachi Maynard and Samuel Field put it,

       Where is the man who under the influence of sober, dispassionate reasoning, and not void of natural affection, can lay his hand upon his heart and say, I am willing my sons and my daughters should be torn from me and doomed to perpetual slavery?  We presume that man is not to be found amongst us: And yet we think the consequence is fairly drawn that this is what every man should be able to say who voted for this constitution.”[lxv]

        2.  Why Philmore is so much better on liberty and universal rights than Locke and the Declaration of Independence

          Richard Ashcraft has emphasized some of Locke’s affiliations with artisans and Whig radicals,[lxvi] which led to his exile.  Nonetheless, Locke’s notion in chapter 4 of the Second Treatise that slave-owning is justified in the case of capture of soldiers of the aggressive power is a daunting contradiction to his core argument on each person’s natural liberty.  For as Montesquieu pointed out in book 15 of Spirit of the Laws, enslavement undermines a free regime.   Rooted in cruelty and capriciousness to slaves, this institution harms even the master “because he accustoms himself insensibly to the lack of all moral virtues, because he becomes proud, rash,  hard, choleric, voluptuous,  cruel”[lxvii]  (recall the hundreds of Southern lynchers of the Jim Crow era who brought their children out for “picnics” to see what they had done…).[lxviii]

       Consider the role of English and Portuguese slave ships in Africa.  For centuries, they stole people from their homes and forced them on the Middle Passage where literally millions died routinely in the chained and crowded – like sardines in a can – conditions; the death of about 20% of the human “cargo” was usual - and sometimes many more, as on the Zang…  Ironically, as Brunsman notes, merchant complaints in Rhode Island and elsewhere of the Royal Navy impressing sailors on slave ships and, thus, creating conditions for uprising/”mutiny” as in the heroic revolt on the  Amistad – would there had been many more! - ultimately limited Naval depredations.[lxix]  Thus, press-gangs and slave-gangs were, in this one respect, contradictory to each other.

      As Lemisch emphasized, Parliament sought, following a decree in the 6th year of Queen Ann’s reign – “the sixth of Ann” – to limit impressment in North America.  For unless they had interests in the practice, as the Crown and naval commanders did, any ordinary person who thought about stealing people off the streets might be prone, morally speaking, to reject it.  And Impressment of sailors harmed trade.   (Parliament would also limit such interventions, after riots against press-gangs, in Antigua and the Caribbean, but their vote was subject to conflicting interpretations and weakened by Governors):
        “In I708 a Parliament fearful of the disruptive effect of impressment on trade forbade the practice in America. In the sixty-seven years until the repeal in I775 of this ‘Act for the Encouragement of the Trade to America’ there was great disagreement as to its meaning and indeed as to its very existence. Did the Sixth of Anne, as the act was called, merely prohibit the navy from impressing and leave governors free to do so? At least one governor, feeling ‘pinioned’ under the law, continued impressing while calling it ‘borrowing.’ Was the act simply a wartime measure, which expired with the return of peace in I737? Regardless of the dispute, impressment continued, routine in its regularity, but often spectacular in its effects.”[lxx]
       Ironically, once again, Locke did not justify press-gangs (his theory speaks against them as tyrannical); yet he invested his money and  his own institutional design capacities in something far worse: the Man-trade in Carolina.  Working for and living in the household of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Lord Shaftesbury, Locke served as Secretary to the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, and thus, as administrator of/apologist for the rampant sale of indigenous people in the colony.  In exchange, Locke received an estate and an island from the Proprietors.[lxxi] It is natural to see this role and Locke’s musings, based on it, both as depraved,[lxxii] and as in contradiction to the central argument of the Second Treatise on natural equality.  For in Carolina as well as Africa, those who were hunted and captured were plainly aggressed against.  Theirs, not their captors including John Locke, was the cause of self-defense.

        Now Locke did rule out the enslavement of the wives or children of soldiers who were captured.[lxxiii]  So as James Farr and Brad Hinshelwood contend, his argument could not justify the slavery of the Royal Africa Company and African-Americans. 

      But reading Locke’s correspondence carefully, Hinshelwood’s “The Carolinian Context of Locke’s Theory of Slavery,” Political Theory (2013), suggests  an indigenous paradigm for Lockean enslavement.[lxxiv]  For as Secretary for the Lords Proprietors, Locke worked with settlers who battled indigenous people.   Early in the  colonization,[lxxv] a settler murdered one of the Coosa - as Hinshelwood does not say, in an act of aggression - after which a war ensured:
        “In the late summer of 1671, an English servant shot and killed a Coosa Indian, and the Coosas retaliated by attacking crops. On September 27, ‘as the said Indians will not comply with any faire intreatyes to live peacably and quietly,’ the Grand Council of South Carolina declared war.  Several Coosa were taken prisoner by the colonists, and on October 2, the Grand Council decided that “every company that went out on that expedition shall secure & maintain every Indian they have taken until they can transport such Indians, provided that the Coosa did not sue for peace in the meantime. Almost immediately, the captives were shipped to the West Indies as slaves.[lxxvi]
          In addition, one indigenous group, the Westo assaulted, captured and sold members of  the Coosa,“Cherokee, Chicasa, Coweta, and Cusseta tribes, and may have gone as far as the Mississippi River in pursuit of captives. “[lxxvii]  Led by “the Goose Creek men,” the colonists engaged intensively in the Man-trade which clashed with the hopes of Ashbrook and the Lords Proprietor for a farming community. But the Proprietors soon also vigorously pursued the trade.[lxxviii]  Carolina became famous as “the Indian slave-traders of the Continent”[lxxix] (an early version of “cowboys and Indians,” John Wayne and “savages” – think of the American racist idiom in films and childhood play…).  Now Hinshelwood puts off the notion, as explanation, that Locke was, ideologically, a racist, though merely having racist ideas would be, comparatively, venial. Instead, reflecting the debate in Carolina,  Hinshelwood thinks Locke’s views on just war and bondage provide reasons – not just rationales – for his actions. Thus, he leaves without moral comment Locke’s actual role as a Man trader as well as Locke’s apparent approval of and lying to “sanction” extraordinary acts of aggression by the Colonists and the Westo against those whom they enslaved.[lxxx] 
      To perfume Man-stealing, the settlers thought of themselves –  Hinshelwood, too, appears to think of them this way, or at least offers no critical perspective[lxxxi] - as fighting “defensively” rather than being, as they, in fact, were, well-armed aggressors. Settlers in “the wild” from Carolina and California to Palestine and Tibet see themselves as victims of violence rather than stealers of land, people and lives… 
     For instance, Hinshelwood asserts:
    “Unlike Locke’s investments in African slavery, which did not call for high-level theorizing about the legitimation of slavery, in Carolina just-war arguments over slavery were part of a regular dialogue between the colonists and the Lords Proprietors due to the massive trade in Indian slaves and their method of capture—war, either between the colonists and local tribes or intertribal conflict.[lxxxii]
     But if the settlers or the Westo captured Indians through aggression and made them slaves, can this be, on Locke’s theory in chapter 4, an act of “justice”?  And are the acts of the Proprietors and other traders to market the captives then “just”?  Hinshelwood doesn’t ask…
      “Locke had ample indication that the Indians were perpetually engaged in conflict; in September of 1670, he read John Bull’s letter to Shaftesbury which described how the Westos “warr against all Indians they . . . doe come upon these Indians heee in the tyme of their cropp & destroye all by killinge Caryinge awaye their Corn & Children and eat them.” [the last is probably a racist lie; if not, perhaps  “Christian” enslavement saved children from “being eaten,” an apologist for Locke might say]  Woodward wrote to Shaftesbury of the Westo relation to ‘the  Cowatoe and Chorakae Indians with whom they are at continual wars’ and even the Proprietary propaganda about the Colony insisted that the Indians were constantly at war.” [lxxxiii]     
     Hinshelwood’s repeated characterization “that the Indians were perpetually engaged in conflict” – and failure to point out ethically what was going on - disguises the aggression in what the Westo, the Goose Creek men, and the Lords Proprietors did.  But opposing aggression in self-defense  is the key point in Locke’s “just war theory” of bondage in chapters 4 and 16 – “Of Conquest” -  and cannot be true of both sides of a conflict.  Further, most indigenous tribes, aggressed against, did not engage in the Man-trade except to be sold...How Locke’s purportedly “detailed account of just war”  - actually, it is detailed enough to show that Hinshelwood avoids invoking it… -  could make these aggressions just, any more than they did in Africa, is a mystery.  
      In chapter 16  “Of Conquest,” for example, Locke fiercely indicts enslavement by  aggression:
    That the aggressor who puts himself into the state of war with another and unjustly invades another man’s right can, by such an unjust war, never come to have a right over the conquered will be easily agreed by all men who will not think that robbers and pirates have a right of empire over whomsoever they have force enough to master, or that men are bound by promises which unlawful force extorts from them.  Should a robber break into my house, and with a dagger at my throat make me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, would this give him any title?  Just such a title, by his sword, has an unjust conqueror who forces me into submission.  The injury and the crime are equal, whether committed by the wearer of the crime or some petty villain.[lxxxiv]
    But the colonists and the Westo are aggressors…

     Now Hinshelwood feels rightly that his scholarly discoveries about the enslavement of “hostile” Native Americans identify the case Locke had in mind and are thus contextualist contributions to understanding Locke’s view. But as Montesquieu underlined, if one subordinates another in a fight and is then no longer threatened, one no longer has to kill him.  One can imprison him (for a period during the fighting).   But bondage can not exist for a consistent theorist of the liberty of each individual and of majority consent to laws - no free regime can tolerate or coexist with bondage. In fact, taking into account Hinshelwood’s insights into Locke’s account, Montesquieu actually  highlights a contradictory “legitimation,” one  with monstrous consequences, in Locke’s practice in Carolina, not just an error in his theorizing. Montesquieu adds the insight that soldiers are forced to obey by commanders who are responsible.  Soldiers are humans, not property to be seized...

     In addition, though seemingly writing as a political theorist,[lxxxv] Hinshelwood offers no criticism of Locke’s argument about capture/enslavement of indigenous people; ethically and democratically speaking, he misses the boat.  For the indigenous people were living on – in possession of – the lands.  In contrast, the European settlers invaded and colonized.   In chapter 19 “On the Dissolution of Government,” Locke reiterates that when a King becomes a Tyrant (or conqueror), “every one  has a right to defend himself and to resist the aggressor.”[lxxxvi]   As aggressors, these settlers, including the Lords Proprietors and its secretary, John Locke, drove the people from the land, murdering and enslaving many.  Indigenous Man-traders like the Westo were but their tools.

         Moreover, the government/settlers engaged in a  genocide all across the United States and in “Manifest Destiny,” the infamous racist slogan of American Presidents, on to Hawaii and the Philippines…. These later settlers were also invaders – the aggressors – and if Locke were right, indigenous people would have acted justly in killing in self-defense – thus far, he is - or enslaving – that idea is not - him and the rest of the Lords Proprietors as well as many other early white Carolinians.[lxxxvii]  But more accurately, as Philmore’s interlocutor Mr. Allcraft  puts it in Two Dialogues concerning the Man-trade, settler aggression is only a justification of self-defense or of a rare rival country making war on and  defeating the English Man-trader/owners:

        Suppofe then a fliip belonging to any other nation fliould fee one of our fhips on the coaft of Guinea, full freighted with flaves, ready to fail, and coming up to her fhould infift upon their being all fet at liberty, without any ranfom, and, upon their demand not being complied with, (hould make an attack upon the Englifh (hip, and, getting the maftery of her, (hould unbind the flaves, and turn them afhore loofe, to go whitherfoever they lift. According to your way of thinking, Mr. Philmore, this would be not only a juftifiable, but likewife a good deed, a brave  aftion. Or fuppofe (which indeed is not likely ever to be the cafe) that any nation in the world, not concerned in the Guinea-trade, fhould infift upon all the blacks now in our plantations, who may be about three hundred thoufand, being fet at liberty, and that upon a refufal, they fhould go to war with the Englifh, and ufe all their power and ftrength to refcue thofe flaves, or affift them in recovering their liberty, according to you, that nation would have right on their fide, and would be engaged in a juft, yea in acommendable war, in a noble glorious caufe, the aid and relief of fo many thoufands of poor, injured, oppreffed creatures. — [Philmore begins speaking:] They would be fo, Mr. Allcraft, as, in that cafe, we might juftly be confidered as the aggreffors  [here is Locke’s argument applied exactly, not falsely, and for a foul purpose, as in Locke’s own case] for in truth we are now at war (we Englishmen, we chriftians, to our fhame be it fpoken) and have been for above a hundred years paft, without any ceffation at all, at war and enmity with our own fpecies, not with this or that particular nation, but with mankind in general, and in this war we have destroyed every year, year, at leaft for fome years paft, near as many of the human race, who never did us any injury, as have been deftroyed in the fame time, by the war now carried on in Europe.  Alas Sir! what then mull be the character of the Englifh nation at this day? We reckon ourfelves to be a brave, generous, humane, civilized people.— We do fo; but do you think that this is a true character, while that barbarous, favage man-trade, in the carrying on of which twelve, if not fifteen thoufand lives are facrificed every year is not only winked at, but countenanced and encouraged among us?[lxxxviii]

        The unusual war Allcraft speaks of – rare in all of history and not what the United States does, despite occasional claims – would be genuinely a humanitarian intervention.[lxxxix] The Vietnamese stopping Cambodian genocide in 1978, the Indian government stopping the (West) Pakistan genocide in 1971 in now Bangla Desh, or in America, John Brown’s guerilla actions in Kansas and raid on Harper’s Ferry would be examples.[xc]

            Now one can trace the centrality of indigenous people directly from the Second Treatise which often speaks of Native Americans in the “State of Nature” and whose initial argument about property arising through labor would sustain, as just, indigenous claims to land and goods against the invaders:

         “Thus this law of reason makes the deer that Indians who hath killed it; it is allowed to be his goods who hath bestowed his labour upon it, though before it was the common right of everyone.”[xci]

     Locke’s own examples of first peoples in that State, along with white and by implication black, creating property, thus contradicts his own practice as a Man-trader and creates a special need for a purportedly overriding argument.  About African-Americans, for example if compelled field labor creates goods, to whom, on Locke’s account, would those goods actually belong?[xcii]

       Thus, in  chapter 5, Locke celebrated the thieving colonization of the British empire by praising supposed English productivity in improving a natural commons. If true, this claim would not justify enslavement nor colonization of the poor  and stealing their lands. But it is surely an attempt to do so (“their meager labors result in waste; we make the land productive; therefore we can take it…”).  Given his role in revolution against the Crown and in the sermons, like those of Mayhew and John Allen, in the lead up to the American Revolution, Locke is often thought of – in this respect, rightly – as a defender of ordinary people, of a common good (against Tyranny), and a revolutionary.  But in contrast, Locke’s notion of “labor,” as opposed to say Marx’s theory of exploitation, a reactionary, racist theory – a point unacknowledged so far in the literature.[xciii]  In fact, this claim became an ideological pivot in attempting to legitimize enslavement and genocide both in the Americas and Africa:[xciv]

      “I have here rated the improved land very low in making its product but as ten to one, when is much nearer a hundred to one; for I ask whether in the wild woods and uncultivated waste of America, left to nature, without any improvement, tillage. or husbandry, a thousand acres yield the needy and wretched inhabitants as many conveniences of life as ten acres equally fertile land do in Devonshire, where they are well cultivated.”[xcv]

       Note the ethnocentric supposition that indigenous people are “needy and wretched,” as if Locke knew.  This was not, for example, true of hunter-gatherers until aggression, killing and displacement of the buffalo, and confinement on reservations made it so.[xcvi]  For qn indigenous person often lived as an equal in a community and sometimes with matriarchal co-leadership; a day laborer was oppressed or exploited by a lord. Locke too easily debunks  community.[xcvii]  For such community might well be established by the uncoerced individual consent of each free person involved (they need not see themselves self-consciously as free individuals, but only act in an uncoerced way).  Thus, one might say to the arrogant Locke: ask a day laborer who lives in the relationship and ask the indigenous person…[xcviii]

       Further, Locke actually deployed this argument in favor of owning and selling living (not imagined, hypothetical) indigenous people. But Locke’s supposed wonders of capitalist trade would not make the lives of these trafficked people comparable even to the most impoverished and harassed English day-laborer!

       Founding a long-lasting racist idiom, Locke strives quantitatively to dress up this prejudice toward “the several nations of the Americans” who supposedly would leave the land unused or whose “waste” would, in Locke’s terms, allegedly entitle English colonizers to take it:

     “I think it will be but a very modest computation to say that, of the products of the earth useful to the life of man, nine-tenths are the effects of labour; nay if we will rightly estimate things as they come to our use and cast up the several expenses about the, what in them is purely owing to nature and what to labour, we shall find that in most of them ninety-nine hundredths are wholly to be put on the account of labour.

     41.  There cannot be a clearer demonstration of anything than the several nations of the Americans are of this, who are rich in land and poor in all the comforts of life; whom nature having furnished as liberally as any other people with the materials of plenty, i.e., a fruitful soil apt to produce in abundance what might serve for food, raiment and delight, yet for want of improving it by labour have not one-hundredth part of the conveniences we enjoy,”[xcix]

    That 17th century “day-laborers” did so well for “conveniences” in England, even were they not seized by press-gangs…one might doubt.[c]

       Locke then crows: “And a king of a large and fruitful territory there feeds, lodges, and is clad worse than a day-labourer in England.” [ci]

       This contemptuous argument became a theme-song for genocide – a cliché among  dispossessors and killers - in the United States against indigenous people.  As a “John Evans Professor” – the highest award the University of Denver and Northwestern give to faculty for “career distinction in research,” I have worked, for the past two years, with a committee at the University of Denver on Territorial Governor Evans’ role in the November 29, 1864 Sand Creek Massacre of peaceful Cheyenne and Arapahos, involving the murder and mutilation of the elderly, women and children.[cii]  That Massacre, condemned by three Civil War commissions in 1865 and 1867 led by Republicans (the party to which Evans and Chivington belonged), nonetheless, resulted, Evans said late in his life, in “rid[ding]… us of the roaming tribes of Indians”  and enabled the former Governor, a railroad entrepreneur to run tracks to Denver:

     so the benefit to Colorado of that massacre, as they call it, was very great, for it ridded the plains of the Indians (sic – Cheyennes and Arapahoes), for there was a sentiment that the indians (sic) ought not to be left in the midst of the community. It relieved us very much of the roaming tribes of Indians (sic). [ciii]
         The Massacre thus founded both Denver and the University (Evans, Colonel J.M. Chivington, who led the slaughter, and William Newton Byers, publisher and editor of the Rocky Mountain News, were on the Colorado Seminary’s first Board of Trustees).   Originally a Quaker though he converted as an adult to Methodism and a supporter/appointee of Abraham Lincoln, Evans was explicitly a Lockean – insisting on the productivity of the “civilized” - in his attempts to justify his murderousness.  Interviewed by H.H. Bancroft on his failed attempt to meet and negotiate with the Cheyenne and Arapaho in September 1,1863 – the indigenous people were hunting then for buffalo for food for the winter, and knew Evans’ proposal was to take the lands previously assigned to them in the Treaty of Fort Laramie - Evans says:

     “They refused to go [to make a treaty]; said they did not want to have anything to do with the government. This was their country, [they said] and by the way, let me remark that the idea that this country belonged to them in fee gets its most ridiculous aspect from the proposition that a country a thousand miles long and five hundred miles wide, one of the most fertile in the world, should belong to a few bands of roving Indians, nomadic tribes.”[civ]
        That Locke’s comparative productivity/anti-“waste” argument was, in his own time and long afterwards, a lying, racist, murderous, reactionary justification for settlers in the New World needs to be seen clearly  - Hinshelwood does not - and repudiated.[cv]  For the “waste” of the Second Treatise includes, hideously, the men and women Locke marketed or sanctioned the murder of…

           Thus, Philmore’s Two Dialogues on the Man-trade, inspired by sailors, are far more accurate on the state of nature and forms of “property” in political philosophy than either Locke or Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (recall “domestick insurrections” and the ostensible “savagery” of Native Americans…).[cvi]

       One important shift in political theory in a genuinely egalitarian state of nature, again a quasi-Lockean one given Locke’s racism, is that all men, red, black and white, are by nature free.  That insight would protect indigenous people, possessors of humanity, and today, recognized by the United Nations and even in the United States and Canada as having human rights, from enslavement and the stealing of their children.[cvii]  Philmore sees the truth about the state of nature as it applies to blacks as well as whites, but sadly, does not explicitly extend this truth to indigenous Americans or even discuss their case directly (and thus, as in the case of blacks, clash with Locke).  There is, however, no reason to think that many of the sailors who inspired his views, failed to see that all of them were, by nature, free  (there would be, of course, more indigenous people sailing when Melville wrote, hence in Moby Dick, Queequeg and Tashtego).

     For English and French rule (in part of South Carolina, Louisiana), followed by George Washington, the founding of the United States and settler rule, had many laws dividing up black, red and white.  For instance, under Southern slave codes, no slave owner could take a black into “Indian territory.”  And slave-owners recognized the possibility of black and white rebelling together.  So they distinguished blacks whose bondage was permanent from white indentured servants who had to live for their masters for 7 years, but then could become free.[cviii]  In fact, Bacon’s rebellion in 1676, often cited as a decent event in American history because of black and white unity, demanded war against Native Americans, and resulted in their slaughter.[cix]  Fostering aggression, it was utterly reactionary, even though most examples of black-white unity in American history are for a common good.[cx] 

     Even the perspective that American history is the story of the  liberation of black people, or black people and Chicanos after the seizure of half of Mexico in 1846-46,  or black, white and Chicano (“Labor cannot be free in the white skin where in the black it is branded” as Marx underlined at the end of chapter 10 on the “Working Day” in Capital) through struggle from below leaves out the racist and Lockean “ideology”[cxi] – as opposed to true insights in Locke, such as the equality of those in the state of nature or that it is just to fight back in self-defense – which founded the United States and the supposed unity of its people on murdering “Our Savage Neighbors”  (the latter is the title of a recent book by Peter Silver – 2009).  The sailors’ and Philmore’s seeing that blacks were free in the state of nature contributed centrally to the abolitionism that marked much of the rank-and-file Patriot side in the American Revolution and secured gradual emancipation by law throughout the North by 1804 (the last slave was freed in Manhattan in 1841). 

       But just as importantly, seeing that red, white and black are free and equal in the state of nature would have been the key to a decent United States, one less determinedly cruel and genocidal.  It would have made possible more moderate – preserving of greater numbers – treaties,  for instance, in the fight over expelling the Creeks, Cherokees and Choctaws in Mississippi.  After the initial killing and enslaving, some of these tribes had settled as Christian farmers (truly “Americanized,” some owned slaves…). Yet President Andrew Jackson led their expulsion, along “the trail of tears” to Oklahoma, in which nearly a seventh of them died.  In a nation of 13 million people, however, over a million signed a petition against this expulsion, and tried to halt Jackson.[cxii] Black, white and red democracy was then a living possibility.  This decent movement was defeated only by the most reactionary feature of the Constitution, Article1, section 2, clause 3, which made African Americans “three-fifths” of a person from the point of view of getting extra votes for Man-owners.[cxiii] Racist Southern representatives “saved the day” for expulsion.  Article 1, section 2 thus contributed both to enabling of this death-march of indigenous people as well as the frequent election, in the early “Republic,” of Man-owning Presidents.

      Inspired by Caribbean uprisings against bondage, sailors from below motivated Philmore to make the state of nature anti-racist: to apply it to all. [cxiv]  And that nature could have included – should have included – indigenous people as well as blacks.

                                      III.  That Slave-gangs were like Press-gangs

       As I noted in part one, few words of rank-and-file participants in anti-Press gang rebellions survive.  It is thus  important to listen to the most forceful pamphlet on the rights of sailors by Nauticus into 1772.  This was not a brief complaint or one demand among others, but a thoroughgoing denunciation of  the longstanding, spurious justification for Impressment, offered by the  Junius, as “time immemorial” and “necessary.”  Since the thirteenth century, the King had swept up sailors by force.  But as Nauticus says, grabbing prisoners off the street and compelling them aboard ship, with no effort to enlist them voluntarily and no pay, was a form of enslavement.[cxv]

        For as part one emphasized, impressment was perhaps the most  flagrant or naked crime of the Monarchy, something that ordinary people fought fiercely in England, Antigua, Nevis, Boston, Manhattan - all around the Atlantic world.  In itself, the activity of press-gangs, Nauticus underlined, had no moral justification.  The closest impressment came to being a “necessity” was in the case of Elizabeth against the Spanish armada, defending individual freedom and diverse Protestantisms from then reactionary Catholic Spain.  That surprising victory wrought a great change in the Empires created, since England had internally and sometimes abroad protected, for at least some people of English descent, habeas corpus (the right for a prisoner not to be tortured and to have a day in court).  But of course, Imperial recruitment could still have been pursued with voluntary “inducements.”

       While other sections of the people,  Nauticus noted, are often entitled to habeas corpus, poor people dragged from their homes or the streets aboard ship are not.

      “Is such unnatural treatment for our countrymen likely to produce the idea of such an obligation [to serve in Royal Navy]?  On the contrary, is it not provocation enough to make us regard you with the utmost detestation?

       With what conscience (if we were to reflect) could we take arms, for the destruction of people who have never injured us, in defense of those who are most merciless oppressors?

       We are wholly at a loss to conceive from what principles of natural or political law the obligation is deduced, by virtue whereof you think we are bound to sacrifice our being in defense of a system from which we not only derive no benefit but where our capacity to perform the greatest services to the state, instead of being rewarded, is by the rest of the community converted into an arguments for the most savage oppression, that they may enjoy an uninterrupted scene of felicity: can you imagine we are so stupid and senseless as to believe that your happiness ought to be of more importance to us than our own?”[cxvi]

      In the idiom of Locke and Philmore, the author speaks here repeatedly of natural law, affecting human beings as free, equal and independent, of each individual, and stigmatizes seizure by press-gangs as “unnatural.”  Nauticus also speaks of political law in roughly Locke’s sense, i.e laws pertaining to a “publick interest,” laws legislated with the interests of the majority, and better yet, including the interests of  each part of the citizenry. [cxvii] But press gangs are contrary to any kind of decent political decision.

     Nauticus then specifies careful analogies between impressment and bondage:

    “…besides the hazardous nature of our occupation, the discipline and subordination which are unavoidable on board a ship, gives our service a tincture of slavery, even in peaceable times, for which we are rewarded with coarse fare, scanty pay, and the humble satisfaction of reflecting how much we contribute to your greateness…

    Is there no possibility of suggesting a milder and more generous alternative for your preservation?  Is it consistent, either with wisdom or humanity, to adopt so cruel a practice even to slaves without being convinced, by repeated experiments, of the inefficacy of all other methods.”[cxviii]

       In qualification of these analogies, I should note, that just like the Westo in Carolina, some African tribes made money by enslaving and selling, to Portuguese or English ships, members of others.  Still, the hunting is similar enough…

      Confronted with the Caribbean revolts from 1760 on against bondage, these analogies explain why sailors on the British fleet sympathized with the slaves.  Rediker cites an observer of Tacky’s rebellion  to the effect that a captured black said sailors were indifferent to which party in the Man-trade won:

        “Edward Long (the Jamaican landowner/historian] claimed that in the middle of [Tacky’s] revolt a captured leader of the slave rebels told a Jewish militia guard: ‘As for the sailors, you see they do not oppose us, they care not who is in possession of the country.  Black or White, it is the same to them’ The rebel was convinced that after the revolution, the sailors would ‘bring us things from t’other side the sea, and be glad to take our goods in payment.’”[cxix]

        But this one citation - striking enough in its own right – is but a proxy for a stronger solidarity.  For why would sailors sympathize with Man-owners at all?  As Philmore and Otis learned, sailors often saw the cause of slaves as similar to their own.  Also, many former or escaped slaves were at sea.  The unity of sailors – displayed in the crews of every ship and in every revolutionary crowd  - was for emancipation from bondage.  This demand was advanced, before, during and after the American Revolution with force from below and resulted in the creation of a free North.

    To draw a picture of how the pressure for abolition from below could be so ignored in mainstream accounts – recall Meacham on the supposed anachronism of criticizing Jefferson as a Man-owner - one might draw an analogy to the issue of American aggression in Iraq at the Democratic Convention of 2004. While Theresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the nominee, was speaking, Medea Benjamin of Code Pink unfurled a banner: “US out of Iraq.”  She was removed from the Convention by “security” and arrested.  And the New York Times and other corporate media would have reported this, if at all, as an outlier, for John Kerry and the Democratic leadership were being very pro-War.

      Yet perhaps 90% of the delegates to the Convention agreed with Benjamin (even Kerry who had once, in the best moment in his political career, been outspoken in Vietnam Veterans against the War...). A careless historian in 2200 – similar to those who, as Meier noted, long “overlooked” revolutionary crowds – might write that rank and file Democrats – and infer: even rank and file Americans – did not strongly oppose the war.  And yet, in the United States and around the world, there was the biggest anti-war movement against the Iraq aggression before a War in the history of the world.  Except for talking heads, notably former Generals and Admirals commenting on weaponry/hawking the wares of arms companies that now employ them,[cxx] the Iraq aggression was never popular. 

      In the crowds before the revolution, support for emancipation was even stronger…

         Again, all of this fighting in self-defense, all of this fury at the Crown over
enslavement/impressment exploding unevenly but in resistance and uprisings throughout the 18th century all over the Atlantic world, was global training for the sailors’ role in revolutionary crowds in the United States.

        Often as with Commander Knowles in the Caribbean, the Navy was short some hundreds of men.  So in Antigua, Knowles set loose the gangs.  But sailors and others, fought them violently.   And the merchants, given small laboring populations and the need for regular shipping to reach the harbor – once again, sadly including slaves – fought for an exemption and got it passed by Parliament.

    Thus, in North America, it was known by word of sailors from port to port, that press gangs had been defeated in the Caribbean. And impressment already had a shaky status in North America.  So, sailors and artisans might have thought, why not in Boston?[cxxi]

      During the Knowles riot, the biggest uprising before the American Revolution, the crowd surrounded Governor Stanley.  In his letter to the Board of Trade, Stanley describes a conversation with a leader of the demonstrators demanding that a member of a press gang who murdered a sailor be hung,  This is one of the few militant sailors’ voices which is reported directly; it is for mass radical violence against those who murder sailors and officials who sustain them[cxxii]:

       “and in this parley one of the mob, an inhabitant of the town call'd upon me to deliver up the Lieutenant of the Lark [Knowles’ ship], which I refus'd to do; after which among other things he demanded of me, why a boy, one Warren now under sentence of death in goal for being concern'd in a press gang, which kill'd two sailors in this town in the act of impressing, was not executed; and I acquaint'd 'em his execution was suspended by his Majesty's order 'till his pleasure shall be known upon it; whereupon the same person, who was the mob's spokesman ask'd me "if I did not remember Porteous's case who was hang'd upon a sign post in Edinburgh I told 'em very well, and that I hop'd they remember'd what the consequence of that proceeding was to the inhabitants of the city; after which I thought it high time to make an end of parleying with the mob, and rerir'd into the Council Chamber: The issue of this was that the mob said they would call again at the Council Chamber the next day to know whether the impressed men were discharg'd; and went off to a dock yard upon proposal made among 'em to burn a twenty gun ship now building there for his Majesty.”

      Porteous was the chief of the Edinburgh city guard who, as leader of a press-gang, had murdered a sailor. A crowd “hang’d [him] upon a sign post…” The threat was clear and frightening; Stanley, retreating to a fort on a nearby island, made himself scarce.

                                   4.  Current ideologies about ethics among scholars

    The moral odiousness of press-gangs was an important, long-standing cause of the unruliness and sometimes violent self-defense in revolutionary crowds and thus, of the tensions leading up to and outbreak of the American Revolution.  It was the source of continuing rank-and-file resistance to the Crown - captured sailors and dockworkers would not “go over” to the Crown as well as of  pressure from below for gradual emancipation throughout the North.  Few would deny the moral argument on the gangs, or today, fail to sympathize with the crowds. They might still question the causal link between the crowds’ abolitionism and subsequent gradual emancipations, but that is a more complex, different issue: one of explanation, not core moral judgment.[cxxiii]

    Yet as a mainstream reaction against history from the bottom up (or against what are taken to be Marxian claims as a version of this), many historians say: “We just deal with the facts.  We offer no moral assessment.”  Thus, at a forum last fall at the University of Denver, several fine scholars about indigenous people said exactly this in response to questions about whether we should continue, at the University and in Colorado, to celebrate Governor John Evans.  “Speaking as an historian,” they replied, “one cannot say…”

       But facts actually are a fundamental and inseparable part of moral judgments.  If the facts at Sand Creek were as Lieutenants Silas Soule and Joseph Cramer described them, and Major Chivington surrounded Fort Lyon to prevent officers from alerting the peaceful Cheyennes and Arapahos camped under an American garrison flag – a flag that Washington officials had assured them, would protect them - and then went out and slaughtered the elderly, women and children, mutilated their bodies and paraded with the  body parts around Denver,[cxxiv] then as the Joint Congressional Cpommittee on the Conduct of the Civil War Report said in the summary of its 1865 report: “it is difficult to imagine that beings in human form can have done such things.”

     It would take denial of these facts to reach any other judgment, let alone “neutrality.”

      Further, validation of these facts by careful historians today rules out an older, irredentist interpretation in Colorado, enshrined in a monument to an “Anonymous Soldier of the Civil War” (1909) in front of the State Capital, of the “Sand Creek battle” as one of the four battles in Colorado of the Civil War. [cxxv] None of these historians fail to see Sand Creek as a massacre.  None honors Chivington. None disagree with (almost all) the judgments of the Joint Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the Civil War Report.  Yet these are also striking, once controversial moral judgments.

       If one acknowledges such facts and the relevant judgments, how can one then fail to evaluate and ultimately take a stand on Evans’ culpability?  One could say: “I don’t know enough yet about Evans’s role” (actually, one of them provided many indicting facts about Evans preparing the ground for the massacre, refusing, for example, to make peace with a courageous delegation of Cheyenne and Arapaho leaders at Camp Weld, September 28, 1864).  Or alternately, one could suggest that  “Evans is a harder case to assess morally than the others: he was out of town for the last 13 days and it is ‘unclear’ how central he was” (no one actually claimed this). But one can not say as these historians did: “I am only a Fact-woman or man” or  “ as a member of the discipline of history, I don’t – and can’t - make moral judgments.”  For given all the other moral judgments this same historian rightly makes about Sand Creek on the basis of carefully researching the facts, that claim is false.  It contradicts these other, more plausible judgments.

     If the Joint Commission report could speak plausibly of Evans as “the worst prevaricator” they had heard in 4 years of taking testimony, and if Evans could be forced to resign in 1865 by President Johnson for his leading role in making the massacre possible, these actors, even at the time, had a view of the facts.  One might introduce other facts (if any existed) to exonerate Evans.[cxxvi]  But if there are no other, morally overriding facts (for instance, that he had no intention to “exterminate” the “roaming Indians”; unfortunately, he did), then what historians discover confirms the condemnation of Evans even by the US government at that time.   

      This contradiction in these historians’ claim to be neutral or value-free in matters of morality is linked to another and deeper contradiction.  Take all standard versions of meta-ethical relativism (“value freedom” in political science or history, looking from each group’s point of view as somehow “equal” in early anthropology, postmodernism, some economic determinist versions of Marxism and the like).  One says: the explanation of what is called a moral claim is solely what people in group x call “moral.”  It has no ethical integrity or substance.[cxxvii]  Such relativism is actually reductionist.  We say people like x happen to believe something only because of conditioning in their group. 

     But if we then ask: what is the meaning of the term “moral” or “ethical” in the phrase meta-ethical relativism, no coherent answer can be given.  It is just a member of some group’s claim, with no other reason to believe it; put differently, Hitler is a noble man on this view... 

     Like someone proclaiming “I do not exist,” a meta-ethical relativist argument is self-refuting.  Whatever the inductions which lead to it – the powerful often justify their crimes with false, supposedly morally relevant claims, i.e. “the colonizers are more productive than those they kill and dispossess” – the argument itself is not coherent.  Look carefully at the anti-ethnocentrism of post-Boas anthropology  – I bracket or stand aside from the particular moral claims of Europeans and Americans and listen to the views of the people I study - and one will see that it rightly condemns killing and oppressions by the colonizers….

    This argument also applies to the meta-ethical relativist claims in the methodology of indigenous studies.  Among the true claims made in this field are that indigenous people have sophisticated, long denied views and experiences, and that these must be studied deeply to take in, for instance, the true horror of the “settlement” of the West and establish a common, public and scholarly conversation about it; further, indigenous people have stories to tell which cannot be understood, let alone “preempted” from the outside by patronizing racists… 

    But the further induction often made by participants that there can be no true moral judgment – that “whites” have their judgments and indigenous people have different ones and that there are no relevant, let alone decisive facts – is belied by the case of Sand Creek (as well as the force of all the indigenous stories told about it…).  Silas Soule, Joseph Cramer, Major Ned Wynkoop, the Joint Congressional Committee and the US Army all acknowledged, in 1865, the massacre.  In the midst of it, Soule commanded his men not to fire, and then gave his life to tell the truth about it.  With the approval of the four preceding Governors,  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper apologized to the Cheyennes and Arapaho descendants on December 3, 2014 (the 150th anniversary of the Massacre) on the steps of the State Capitol.  Today there is no moral disagreement about the basic facts among historians, except for a handful of racists who make false empirical claims (i.e., that there were “hostiles” at Sand Creek).

      But racist crimes often  have powerful interests behind them, and thus, false tales  endure.  The Confederate flag – the flag of bondage - long flew over State Houses in the South and there are many monuments to Man-owners and Klansmen.  It took the 9 wanton murders by a racist welcomed into a prayer meeting in the AME Methodist Church in Charleston this spring – and the political courage of Governor Nikki Haley[cxxviii] and others - at last to bring down that flag...

     Surely, historians should, on the basis of careful analysis of the facts, protest against the powerful when they propagate such myths…

      And surely the story of the Founders, which leaves out sailors and imagines only intellectuals like Jefferson being interested in natural rights belies the truth that sailors and the revolutionary crowds they led were far more and far more consistently abolitionist than their famous leaders.  For the many Crispus Attuckses, (a black and Native American ex-slave and sailor) played a vital role in generating the radicalism of the Revolution, including recognition that natural rights are the rights of all men rather than just whites, were a main component of the soldiers/sailors in battle, and helped exert democratic pressure for gradual abolition in the North.[cxxix]

       As my Democratic Individuality (1990) underlined, all distinctively moral argument passes through some reasonable claims about human cooperation, freedom and wellbeing, or answers, to some extent, the question: what is a decent life for human beings?  Such claims, for instance, rule out murder, mass murder and aggression.  Hence, facts often have moral importance or underpin reasonable moral judgments.  The attempt radically to separate facts from ethics – to produce a value-free or value-drained history or political science – is a misunderstanding, or taken seriously, an incoherent project.  That one wants to remove one’s biases from one’s study – always a good thing and sometimes a necessary feature of scientific research – does not mean that anti-racist intuitions, as in Boas, or that sympathizing with those Impressed or enslaved is a “bias.”  That historians remove their prejudices does not mean that a clear account of the Man-trade or of the Sand Creek massacre must not call them by their names.


Confronting Slavery at Long Island’s Oldest Estates

Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, in a restored slave cabin at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, S.C.
Stephen B. Morton for The New York Times

Joseph McGill first unrolled bedding in a former slave cabin
in 1999. He was participating in a documentary about Civil War re-enactors and the controversy over the Confederate battle flag, and the producers asked Mr. McGill — an African-American museum professional from South Carolina who dresses in the Union blue — if he could add some spice to a scene being filmed at a plantation near Charleston.
“The floor was very hard, and the bugs were terrible,” Mr. McGill, 54, recalled recently. “I woke up at about 3 a.m. to the sound of dogs barking in the distance. I’m not sure ‘spooky’ is the word, but the thought did run through my head of all those who had tried to escape.” The experience stuck with him, and in 2010 he formally began the Slave Dwelling Project, with the goal of filling what he calls “a void in preservation” at Southern plantations and beyond.

“We tend to save the iconic, architecturally significant buildings,” Mr. McGill said on a recent afternoon after leading a tour of restored slave cabins at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens in Charleston, where he works as a guide two days a week. “But what about these other buildings? They are part of the story, too.”

So far, Mr. McGill, whose ancestors were enslaved in Williamsburg County in South Carolina, has slept in more than 70 slave dwellings in 14 states, alone or in groups as large as 30, with the descendants of slaves sometimes lying alongside descendants of slave owners. This weekend, he is doing his first overnight stays in New York State, bedding down on three historic properties on eastern Long Island, in some of the region’s most beautiful (and expensive) resort areas.

If these are not places where slavery is the first — or 51st — thing to pop into visitors’ heads, it isn’t because it didn’t exist in them. In the mid-18th century, New York City’s slave market was second in size only to Charleston’s. Even after the Revolution, New York was the most significant slaveholding state north of the Mason-Dixon line. In 1790, nearly 40 percent of households in the area immediately around New York City owned slaves — a greater percentage than in any Southern state as a whole, according to one study.

In contrast to the image of large gangs working in cotton fields before retiring to a row of cabins, slaveholdings in New York State were small, with the enslaved often living singly or in small groups, working alongside and sleeping in the same houses as their owners. Privacy was scant, and in contrast to any notion of a less severe Northern slavery, the historical record is full of accounts of harsh punishments for misbehavior.

“Slavery in the North was different, but I don’t think it was any easier,” Mr. McGill said. “The enslaved were a lot more scrutinized in those places, a lot more restricted. That would have been very tough to endure.”

On his three previous trips to Northern states, Mr. McGill said, some people have wanted to connect his project to the Underground Railroad (slavery was legally abolished in New York State in 1827), or to the righteous cause of the Union Army.

 “I get them out of that comfort zone,” he said. “It’s important to let them know that slavery was part of the Northern story, too.”

At each stop on Long Island, Mr. McGill will give a public talk about his project, which he says is aimed at making sure the perspective of slaves doesn’t fall out of history, even in places where the material traces of their existence may be scant.

“There’s more to the story than just glorifying the big house,” Mr. McGill said. “Why just tell the pretty parts of history? We’ve been doing that for far too long.”

Today, Shelter Island, nestled between the two forks of Long Island, is known as a quietly affluent summer community. But in the 17th century, its 8,000 acres made up the vast estate of Nathaniel Sylvester, an Englishman who used the land as a provisioning farm for his family’s sugar plantations in Barbados, and who was the first to bring enslaved Africans to what is now Suffolk County.

When Sylvester died in 1680, his will named 23 pieces of human property, making Sylvester Manor one of the largest slaveholding sites on Long Island. It is also the most intact, thanks to nearly 360 years of continuous Sylvester family habitation, which ended several years ago when the main house, built in 1737, and 243 surrounding acres became a nonprofit educational farm.

“The house is a record of all the lives lived here,” Maura Doyle, the historic preservation coordinator, said recently during an informal tour of the manor’s elegantly ramshackle, antique-stuffed rooms, which look as if the owners had gone out for a walk and never returned. “In repairing it,” she said, “we want to be careful not to Disneyfy the historic record.”

On Friday, Mr. McGill and a small group will sleep — or try to sleep — in the house’s stifling attic, reachable up the steep, twisting “slave stairs,” as they are known in manor lore. Little is documented about slave living conditions, but Ms. Doyle, picking her way past dusty trunks and cabinets filled with ornate china chamber pots and other family relics, pointed out the subtle traces of the hard lives endured under the eaves.

Random bits of paneling and scrap wood suggest efforts to carve out private spaces. Graffiti on several walls shows the outlines of sailing ships, probably carved by a Montaukett Indian boy who went to the manor as an indentured servant in 1829.

A few years ago, a researcher found a carefully arranged cache of ritual objects — a brass button, the frame of a writing slate — hidden under the floorboards, a trace of enduring West African religious practices similar to those found at other sites. Today, it is kept in the house’s concrete-walled vault, alongside treasures like a 1639 christening gown and an oversize teacup used by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a frequent visitor to the house.

The last slave at Sylvester Manor was freed in 1820, seven years before slavery was abolished in New York. But the complex story of African-Americans at Sylvester Manor does not end there.

Propped up on the lower part of the slave staircase is a photograph of Julia Johnson, a free black woman whose stepfather had saved enough money to buy land from his onetime Sylvester master. According to “The Manor” (2013), Mac Griswold’s history of the property, Johnson, who served three generations of Sylvesters as a housekeeper, eventually sold the waterfront parcel back to a Sylvester descendant at a bargain price.

Johnson, who died in 1907, was the last person buried in the small cemetery a few hundred yards from the house, where, Ms. Doyle said, more than 200 unmarked graves lie scattered in a grove of white pines, behind a large rock inscribed “Burying Ground of the Colored People of the Manor From 1651.”

“When we get even a scrap of a story about an individual, it’s so valuable,” Ms. Doyle said of the African-American side of the property’s history. “The record can be so silent.”

An Enslaved Poet’s Home

The Slave Quarters at Joseph Lloyd Manor
The Slave Quarters at Joseph Lloyd Manor
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

The voices of the enslaved are more audible at Joseph Lloyd Manor, a white-shingled house on a steep slope overlooking Lloyd Harbor, in the North Shore town of Huntington.

In its heyday, the house was the seat of an estate belonging to one of the region’s wealthiest families. The family had a business shipping timber, crops and clay from 12 docks in the harbor, aided by an enslaved labor force that peaked at around a dozen on the eve of the Revolution. But these days, it’s more famous as the former home of Jupiter Hammon, an educated slave who in 1760 became the first published African-American poet.

Records show Hammon — who was born down the road from the manor around 1711, in a structure that still stands — traveling around the area to do business on behalf of the Lloyds. He tended his own garden of cash crops, according to information presented at the house, and at 22 he bought a Bible from his master for seven shillings and sixpence.
He served as a preacher for the African-Americans enslaved on the property, and his owners, who most likely educated him alongside their sons, encouraged him to publish his poems, which contained appeals to Christian piety (“O ye young and thoughtless youth/ Come seek the living God”) and a seemingly acquiescent view of slavery.

Hammon died sometime after 1790, at a time when owners were increasingly freeing slaves they could not or did not want to care for, leaving many homeless and impoverished.
“For my own part I do not wish to be free,” Hammon, in his 70s, wrote in his “Address to the Negroes of the State of New York,” published in 1787. “Yet I should be glad if others, especially the young Negroes, were to be free.” But in “An Essay on Slavery,” an unpublished poem from 1786 discovered two years ago in papers held at Yale University, he struck a more forceful tone, declaring: “Dark and dismal was the Day/ When slavery began/ All humble thoughts were put away/ Then slaves were made by Man.”

In the rear of the second floor, behind the genteel bedrooms of the Lloyd family, a room labeled “slave quarters” holds a bed and several mattresses bundled together on the floor, next to a large spinning wheel. “It’s meant to show that the work was never done,” Joan McGee, an educator with the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which owns the property, explained during a recent visit.

On Thursday, Mr. McGill will sleep in a bigger room with a fireplace, presented as Hammon’s room, on a blue period-reproduction rope bed with a goose-feather mattress. Langston Hughes once described Hammon as a “privileged slave,” but such distinctions, Mr. McGill said, meant little.
“For any slave, beyond that little moment of serenity at bedtime, come daybreak, it was over,” he said. “They were back to doing things that benefited their masters, not themselves.”
Origins of a Rich Town

The Thomas Halsey Homestead in Southampton, N.Y., can document having slaves at various points, including an unnamed man mentioned in the 1740 will of Thomas Halsey’s grandson.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Slavery in Southampton, the oldest English settlement in New York, dates almost to its founding in the 1640s. A slave and Indian uprising burned many buildings in the 1650s. Census records show that by 1686, roughly 10 percent of the village’s nearly 800 inhabitants were slaves, many of whom helped work the rich agricultural land.

But this is not a part of its history that the town, better known for its spectacular beach and staggeringly expensive real estate, has been eager to embrace.

“I think for a while a lot of people didn’t know or didn’t want to acknowledge there were slaves out here,” said Brenda Simmons, executive director of the Southampton African-American Museum, which plans to open in an old barbershop — the village’s first designated African-American landmark — on North Sea Road. Mr. McGill’s visit, she said, “will help confirm the truth of the matter.”

A bedroll has been placed on the floor in the kitchen, where Joseph McGill will spend the night.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

On Saturday, Mr. McGill will spend the night on a bedroll in the kitchen of the Thomas Halsey Homestead, the oldest house in town, a gray shingled farmhouse on Main Street wedged between the weekend residence of the writer Tom Wolfe and a large house with a private golf course hidden behind an imposing hedge.

The homestead, established in 1648, can document having slaves at various points, including an unnamed man mentioned in the 1740 will of Thomas Halsey’s grandson. The house contains a gallery devoted to Shinnecock Indian culture, but no formal display is dedicated to slavery at the site, although guides discuss the subject.

“A lot of what we can say about slave life here is conjecture,” said Tom Edmonds, executive director of the Southampton Historical Museum, which owns the house. “No one wrote down, ‘My slave slept here.’ ”

A photo, circa 1890, of Pyrrhus Concer, an African-American born to an enslaved mother in 1814 who later became a whaler and is believed to be one of the first Americans of African descent to set foot in Japan.
Collection of the Southampton Historical Museum

The town has documented reminders of its African-American history, but not all of them have been well preserved. On Sunday, Mr. McGill will speak at the dedication of a marker on the site of the home of Pyrrhus Concer, an African-American born to an enslaved mother in 1814 who later became a whaler and is believed to be one of the Americans of African descent to set foot in Japan.
Concer’s house on the mansion-lined Lake Agawam, where he operated a ferry, was dismantled in January by private owners after a fierce preservation battle. But the tide may be turning. This summer, a small tourist boat named for Concer has been running on the lake, and in July the town earmarked $4.35 million to acquire the .82-acre site, where the house will be rebuilt, using its salvaged historical components.


A historical marker for Concer at the boat ferry on Lake Agawam in Southampton.
Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

The Slave Dwelling Project may be focused on places where people lived in bondage. But Mr. McGill said that it was also important to call attention to the fragile material traces of those who made the transition to freedom.

“The built environment of African-Americans has always suffered,” he said. “But all these tiny places can tell a story.”

A photograph from Southampton’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1890 shows Concer standing on a float with the town’s other aging whalers, thrusting a harpoon. When he died seven years later, he was buried in North Cemetery, under a marker inscribed: “Though born a slave, he possessed virtues without which kings are but slaves.”

Visiting the Sites

Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project, will be staying overnight at three sites on Long Island and speaking about his experiences. Information on regular opening hours at the sites is on their individual websites.

JOSEPH LLOYD MANOR 1 Lloyd Lane, Lloyd Harbor, N.Y. Discussion with Mr. McGill on Thursday, 12:30 p.m., at Mac’s Steakhouse, 12 Gerard Street, Huntington; $45, including lunch, reservations required; 631-427-7045, Ext. 404. Reception with Mr. McGill and house tours, Thursday, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; free, reservations required; 631-692-4664. More information is at
SYLVESTER MANOR 80 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island, N.Y. Panel discussion with Mr. McGill and others, Saturday, 1-2 p.m. House tours 12:15-2:45 p.m.; $10, reservations at 631-749-0626. More information is at
THOMAS HALSEY HOMESTEAD 249 South Main Street, Southampton, N.Y. Mr. McGill will speak at a dedication of a historic marker at the site of the former Pyrrhus Concer homestead, Agawam Park, Pond Lane, Southampton, Sunday, 11:30 a.m. More information is at

[i] Women and men were equally free, but of course interrelated, and thus not independent. As indigenous tribes reveal, human life has always been communal.  Thus, John Rawls’ original position is an important innovation in contract theory compared to a putative state of nature.
[ii] Gary Nash, The Forgotten Fifth. At p. 3, Nash strikingly refers to widespread escape to the Crown as “the Revolution’s dirty secret” long suppressed in conventional historical writing. Unfortunately, the title misnames the central issue of emancipation in the Revolution – freedom for black as well as white – as but a particular one, an issue of identity politics.  But at p. 67, he speaks forcefully to this moral issue.  
[iii] See the Times Sunday Book Review best-seller lists.  Over the last 20 years, there have been 5-10 biographies, on these lists, of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and others.

[iv] After two reviews, the second somewhat critical, the Times published a remarkable column by Paul Finkelman, a law professor at SUNY    and an expert on the Constitution, “The Monster of Monticello.”   But this was still a debate about the conduct of Slave-owner “Presidents” - for 52 of the first 72 years of the Republic, a Man-“owner” was President; these were the only Presidents elected twice… - not a focus on the outlook and fight for liberation of blacks and other abolitionists.
[v] “Taxation no Tyranny,” 1775.
[vi]    Seeing only the emancipatory side of the Declaration is an important error in Marcus Rediker’s otherwise luminous account in “The Motley Crew in the American Revolution.”
[vii] The Constitution was built upon slavery, for example Article 2, section 4, paragraph 7 (the three-fifths clause), but with “sensitivity” among “revolutionary” man-owners, does not use the word.
[viii] The founding of Harvard in 1638 accrued some 2,000 acres of land from the Pequot Massacre in Connecticut.  There a Lieutenant casting his eyes skyward with Christian sanctimony, declared:  “500 men, women and children. All fall down.”  Craig Steven Wilder, Ebony & Ivy, p. 
[ix] In the 1960s, Lemisch and others criticized a pompous establishment view, a Cold War “presentism” about doing history, and were fired for it and in certain places, blacklisted for it.  Lemisch wrote the now amusing, detailed and all too accurate “Present-Mindedness Revisited: Anti-Radicalism as a Goal of American Historical Writing Since World War II,” which could not find its way into a mainstream historical journal. Under the putative banner of “academic freedom,” the powerful ruthlessly purged teachers and graduate students with whom they disagreed.

       But given the obvious merits of history from below and of Lemisch’s and Lynd’s writing, it is hard, 50 years later, to see what the attack was about…        
[x] Alfred Young was also a contributor.  I often speak of democracy from below.  William Nell, Colored Patriots of the American Revolution, Herbert Aptheker, Negro Slave Revolts, Benjamin Quarles, Negro in the American Revolution, Vincent Harding, There is a River, Sylvia Frey, Water from the Rock and my Black Patriots and Loyalists focused on the actions of blacks to defeat the “Man-owners” are also paradigms of this kind of history.

     Now the two kinds of history – the latter appears as social history in the discipline -  could, in principle complement each other.  But they often have not…
[xi] Rediker, “The Motley Crew in the American Revolution,” p. 104.
[xii] The two revolutions are a theme of Black Patriots and Loyalists.  In terms of Dunmore’s Proclamation and Royal recruitment of blacks, however, the Second Revolution also undercut the Independence movement, though its competition also spurred Patriot recruitment of African-Americans, for example in Rhode Island (ch. 4).
[xiii] Kit Carson’s march of the Navajo to Bosque Redondo was a model for concentration camps for Adolf Hitler. In the onslaught on the Soviet Union, Hitler referred “to Russian redskins” and to camps as “reservations” for Jews, Roma, and many others.  John Toland, Adolf Hitler, p. 702.
[xiv] Native Americans have a stirring history of fighting back – and of attempting to achieve reasonable settlements – but from outside.  Think of Sitting Bull or Geronimo compared to the almost forgotten leaders of genocide in the West like Generals Sherman or Sheridan…The object of the American government, however– to seize their land, to drive them out – differed, for the most part, from economic parasitism on black labor.  The American founders were more rapacious, less concerned about Native Americans, even than the British Empire…
[xv] Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists, ch. 
[xvi] Peter Linebaugh, Rediker’s collaborator on The Many Headed Hydra      and Denver Brunsman,   “The Great Knowles Riot ,“  2008 and The Evil Necessity are also important here.
[xvii] This was an emancipatory inversion or mirroring, as Brunsman suggests, of what the press-gangs did.
[xviii] Lemisch, “Jack Tar in the Streets:
[xix] As opposed to the publication of obscure books or many unimportant articles as a condition for recognition, this is a rare counterpart in American history to the famous role of Saul Kripke’s Naming and Necessity in philosophy, establishing the notion of rigid designation, a centerpiece for much later work on reference in semantics and scientific realism, but of course, Kripke’s views were far less dangerous and he had a more “brilliant” academic career.
[xx] Lynd was field secretary for SNCC during Mississippi Freedom Summer and worked with my childhood friend Andrew Goodman, murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi  with James Cheney and Michael Schwerner.  Lemisch was active in SDS.  As Richard Miller argues, Franz Boas founded field work in anthropology, opposing the initial role of the discipline in Evans-Pritchard for example, as a companion of and distorted apologist for British Imperial violence against the Nuer. Participation in the German democratic revolution of 1848 had given Boas a different start.  Being anti-racist and willing to consider or learn about the role of ordinary people – as an intuition or conviction – leads to discoveries, Miller rightly contends, which  early Anthropology or Presidential Hagiography, compelled by the incentives, delights and prejudices of the elite – the “Emperor’s New Clothes” - forget or ignore.   

     Alfred Young’s forceful account of the persecution of history from the bottom up can be found in “   ‘the transforming hand’ “, pp. 432-437; the essay reveals striking examples about William Appleman Williams and Gary Nash as well.  A participant in a professional movement to preserve the freedom of speech for historians, Young says about Lemisch:

    “In 1966 the history department at the University of Chicago did not renew Lemisch’s appointment.  Daniel Boorstin found Lemisch’s ‘sea stories’ interesting but deplored his emphasis on class.  In 1968 the chairman William H. McNeill, informed him, ‘Your convictions interfered with your scholarship’ [how the powerful peer out at others and see themselves…].  Lemisch continued in academia but, as he recently put it, ‘Great Institutions began to shun me.’”

       Young then traces the vibrant influence of Lemisch and Lynd (who left academia to become a legal defender, along with Alice Lynd, in death penalty cases) and others, despite continuing repression.

     “In 1971 the Institute of Early American History and Culture invited neither Lemisch nor Lynd to a conference of representative scholars on the bicentennial of the Revolution. ‘Why didn’t they invite Jesse and Staughton?’ I remember Edmund Morgan [Lemisch’s teacher and Lynd’s colleague] asking me at lunch.  Nor was there a welcome mat at Williamsburg for the British New Left historians whose seminar works also went unreviewed.  The council of the Institute long reserved a slot for someone in British history, but in 1977 when as chair of the nominating committee I brought in the name of Christopher Hill [one of the greatest historians of the Puritan Revolution at Cambridge but…a Marxist of sorts], they voted it down.  The Institute’s 1989 volume listing 2,001 recommended books carries some eighty-five titles in British history, but not one by Hill, Thompson, Rude or Hobsbawm.  Recently Lynd appeared as a reviewer in the Quarterly, and the journal’s readers voted Lemisch’s ‘Jack Tar’ one of the most influential articles of the last fifty years.” Young, pp. 436-37

        Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class is probably on any literate scholar’s list as, say, one of the five most important books written in any area of history over the last 50 years…

[xxi] Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea,
[xxii] Black Patriots and Loyalists, pp. 67-68.
[xxiii] Brunsman, The Evil Necessity, 
[xxiv] Denver Brunsman offers this estimate.
[xxv] Peter Linebaugh, “Nicholas Rogers, The Press Gang: Naval Impressment and its Opponents in Georgian Britain,”  American Historical Review, October, 2009, p. 1152.  Rogers,
[xxvi]  Rogers used the letters of the admiralty-solicitor found in the National Archive.   Linebaugh,        1152.  Linebaugh suggests that the number was not quite as many as strikes, but fewer than food riots.  Nonetheless, it was vastly more common and enduring than the other forms of crowds, for instance resistance to new taxes, in the 10 years before the Revolution.   Brunsman, The Evil Necessity:  , p. 215.

     Rogers writes on England restrictively, and is not good on America, Ireland or the Carribbean.  He even tries to deny that “slaves” were involved as sailors or that there was a “motley crew.”  This ignores, for instance, that Crispus Attucks, Denmark Vesey, Gabriel Proesser and David Walker were all sailors, not to mention Equiano and many many others…
[xxvii]  Brunsman focuses only on the issue of riots specifically against press gangs, saying that they “mostly” drove Impressment off-shore by 1770, the “first significant victory of the Revolution.” (p. 242)  He then offers two contradictory thoughts.  The first one - “the experience of battling press gangs helped to politicize American seaports and make merchant seamen central figures in urban protests leading to American independence - is correct.  Beyond the particular demand, this claim underlines the centrality of Impressment in generating sailor radicalism and the militancy of the crowds. But he then mistakenly suggests “the early defeat of British press gangs had the ironic effect of keeping impressment from becoming one of the leading causes of the Revolution.”(p. 242)  First, since the demand was in the Declaration of Independence, the claim is, on the face of it, false.  Second, if it were true that this horrible form of oppression by the Crown had finally been given up in North American ports, it would still have generated thoroughgoing sailor radicalism against the Crown.  It would thus still be a leading cause of the Revolution.

    Despite making an issue of Crown Impressment during the Revolution,  the American Navy, including in the eleven states, sometimes did Impressment, Brunsman suggests, and was confronted by “multiple protests,” (p. 244)  Contrary to Brunsman, that shows a misunderstanding of their cause by Patriot Naval leaders and a continuing protest among the sailors.  That fact does not dull the importance of the century-long, Atlantic-wide Imperial practice of Impressment in goading the American Revolution.

[xxviii] Brunsman contrasts the meaning of citizenship, in terms of overthrowing Imperial press-gangs on into the war of 1812, and being merely, as in Britain, a subject.  The Evil Necessity, epilogue.
[xxix] Nash, Race and Revolution, p. 123.
[xxx] Brunsman emphasizes these points, and yet misses their central role.  He does not cite Nautilus (odd for a book on Impressment as This Evil [alleged] Necessity is) and relies heavily on middle class accounts – for instance he emphasizes Franklin’s brilliantly sarcastic notes on a court decision about Impressment, an important point, juxtaposed with George III’s equally weighted embrace of the decision- pp. 243-44 -  not in examining the centrality of sailors in the revolt.

     In a “Conversation on Slavery” in the Public Advertizer, January 30, 1770, Franklin, too, likened the press-gangs to slavery. Brunsman, 243, 303.
[xxxi] Locke, Second Treatise, chapter 19, “On the Dissolution of Government,” paragraph 225.
[xxxii] But by whom was this resistance made? Not by a private junta;--not by a small seditious party;--not by a few desperadoes, who, to mend their fortunes, would embroil the state;--but by the LORDS and COMMONS of England. It was they that almost unanimously opposed the king's measures for overturning the constitution, and changing that free and happy government into a wretched, absolute monarchy. It was they that when the king was about levying forces against his subjects, in order to make himself absolute, commissioned officers, and raised an army to defend themselves and the public: And it was they that maintained the war against him all along, till he was made a prisoner. This is indisputable. Though it was not properly speaking the parliament, but the army, which put him to death afterwards” – Jonathan Mayhew,            , 1750.
[xxxiii]Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government…”
[xxxiv] One of the Latin roots of impressment is to weigh down or oppress.  Linebaugh,    2009, p. 1152.
[xxxv] Martin Luther King, “A Time to Break Silence”, April 4, 1967.  1960s Cold War political science stigmatized all revolutions, leaving the American Revolution under a veil of silence…
[xxxvi]  Past and Present, pp   .  Rude,    .  Lemisch, Young, Brunsman (216?) stress this path-breaking kind of social history.
[xxxvii] Locke, Second Treatise,
[xxxviii] The Second Treatise more vigorously advocates of revolution than most radical texts, except perhaps Trotsky’s Their Morals and Ours.
[xxxix] According to Rediker, Paul Revere was beaten by his father for attending…
[xl] Independent Advertiser, January 1748, cited in Rediker,     p. 95.  As John Rawls, A Theory of Justice emphasizes, all humans are alike in having an equally sufficient capacity for moral personality.  This is not to say that they are alike in other respects or that “equally sufficient” means, given work and diversity, the same –as opposed to broadly similar, similar enough – realizations.
[xli] In 1770, Franklin bitingly mocked a Judge Michael Foster’s 1743 decision on Rex v. Broadfoot for Impressment in marginal notes. Brunsman, pp. 243-44.   His satire eventually republished in Britain became famous, as did his even great satire of the slave trade, his last writing, in the Federal Gazette of  March 23, 1790.
     As Lemisch, p. 404, noted,
At the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin spoke for the seamen:
    ‘It is of great consequence that we shd. not depress the virtue and public spirit of our common people; of which they displayed a great deal during the war, and which contributed principally to the favorable issue of it. He related the honorable refusal of the American seamen who were carried in great numbers into the British prisons during the war, to redeem themselves from misery or to seek their fortunes, by entering on board of the Ships of the Enemies to their Country; contrasting their patriotism with a contemporary instance in which the British seamen made prisoners readily entered  on the ships of the latter on being promised a share of the prizes that might be made out of their own Country.'”
In note  , I emphasize that Brunsman mistakenly makes Franklin’s objections to impressment much more significant than sailors’.
[xlii] See also Black Patriots and Loyalists, ch. 1 and   .  Young also wrote the story of

[xliii] Lemisch, p. 401.  In highlinghting this article in his survey of “The Transforming Hand of Revolution,” Young rightly stresses this point.
[xliv] Lemisch,  “Jack Tar in the Streets, “ p. 387
[xlv]    Brunsman,  The Evil Necessity, pp. 245, 303, cites a report from London in the Maryland Journal, March 25, 1777 (reprinted in W.B. Clark, ed, Naval Documents, 8:199. Brunsman ably conveys this point, but does not recognize its major, anti-war significance.  As Marx wrote, in another great example of internationalism long buried among scholars, English textile and other workers, through rallies all over England during the Civil War, kept the Crown whose traders depended on Southern cotton, from intervening on the side of the South.  See Gilbert, Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?, ch. 3
[xlvi] Brunsman ibid.  Only France’s entry into the war in 1778 “slowed” resistance with an elite campaign that it was “unpatriotic.”  These English resistance movements are, once, again early parallels to the anti-Vietnam, anti-Iraq war movements and even the mass sentiment against bombing Iran today in the United States, a kind of movement against Imperial belligerence and publicity that should be more widely recognized. 
[xlvii] Hegel emphasizes this point in his lectures of Elements of a Philosophy of Right,   .
[xlviii]     In his “Oration of the Beauties of Liberty,”  DELIVERED on the Annual THANKSGIVING, December 3d. 1772,” John Allen stresses this same law in Rhode Island, suggesting that the burned British revenue ship, the Gaspee, had violated it:

   “WHEN I view the original right, power and Charter, confirm'd, sealed, and ratified to the Province, or Inhabitants of Rhode Island, and its standing in full force, and unrepealed for more than an hundred years; which is as follows: —

"Be it enacted that no freeman, shall be taken, or imprisoned, or deprived of his freehold, or liberty, or free custom, or be outlaw'd, or exil'd, or otherwise destroy'd, nor shall be oppressed, judged or condemned, but by the Law of this Colony.— And that no man of what state or condition soever, shall be put out of his lands or Tenements, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited nor BANISHED, (observe this my Lord,) nor any ways destroy'd, or MOLESTED, without being, for it, brought to answer, by a due course of Law of this COLONY"…
[xlix] Even Australia was a place where white prisoners/”criminals” – some of them probably were – that is, the unfree, were shipped. 

        Though some committed violent crimes, many were jailed for being in debt, just as many of the 2.3 million filling America’s jails, 25% of the world’s prisoners… – see Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, and Obama’s and some bipartisan recent efforts – are there for failure to pay ever increasing fines or having a puff of marijuana.  But the upper classes rarely go to jail; even the torturers of the Bush administration, who cannot travel abroad for fear of arrest, go scot-free, without even a hearing…
[l] Rediker’s essay has been widely republished.  It is in books with Peter Linebaugh, The Many-headed Hydra  and in the collection edited by      .  Rediker reprints this in Outlaws of the Atlantic, Beacon Press, 2013.  
[li] At pp. 94-95, Rediker stresses Samuel Adams’ role in figuring this out (Philmore is more thorough and focused more deeply on the Man-trade).   As Rediker describes it,
      “Adams saw that the mob embodied ‘the fundamental  rights of man against which the government itself could be judged.’…[he] thus moved from ‘the rights of Englishmen’ to the broader, more universal idiom of natural rights and the rights of man in 1747.  Adams faced a dilemma, and one likely reason why may be found in the composition of the crowd that instructed him.  How could he watch a crowd of Africans,  Scotsmen, Dutchmen, Irishmen,  and Englishmen battle the press gang and then describe them as simply engaged  in a struggle for the ‘rights of Englishmen?”
[lii]  Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists, chs.    .
[liii] Denver Brunsman,     Journal of Early American History,    traces the diverse fighting against press gangs in England, the Caribbean and America. He omits, hwoever, Nauticus’s telling pamphlet.   Rediker, p. 95

[liv] The value of slaves as property meant some effort by masters to avoid killing them.  But torture, to make slaves work harder, often killed them.  So did limitation of rations: 40 % of the skeletons in the black grave yard unearthed in Manhattan in 1991 were under the age of 15.  Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists,     . 
[lv] Going beyond the rights of the “poorest he” in England, Philmore’s Dialogues are resonant with a state of nature in which all are free, though he does not use that term.
[lvi] Horne, The Counterrevolution of 1776.  See my review of it in the Journal of American History,        .
[lvii]   Young’s magisterial summary in “Historians and ‘the Transforming Hand’” in Ronald Hoffmann and Peter J. Albert, eds., The Transforming Hand of Revolution: Reconsidering the American Revolution as a Social Movement,” entirely omits this point; Young does not get it, himself. Gary Nash is, however, an exception.
[lviii]  Lerone Bennett, the great black historian, pioneered this theme in “The Road not Taken.”  See also Black Patriots and Loyalists    .  Note, even Young’s cataloguing of mainly white American historians omits the greatest and most lyrical account of black revolt, Vincent Harding’s There is a River.  It also underestimates the importance of Benjamin Quarles, The Negro in the American Revolution, which remains the go-to book of curators of exhibits and others, and aside from Black Patriots and Loyalists which, 50 years later, reveals a deeper scale of revolt and emancipation, is still the most accurate and interesting book on that period.
[lix] Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists, pp. 174-75.  Van Closen also said: "I had a chance to see the American army, man for man. It was really painful to see these brave men, almost naked with only some trousers and little linen jackets, most of them without stockings, but, would you believe it? Very cheerful and healthy in appearance. A quarter of them were negroes, merry, confident and sturdy.”
[lx] Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists, ch. 4.
[lxi]   Though the Civil War in the South was a war of emancipation from genocide, the war in the West was a war of genocide against indigenous people.  Had Lincoln survived to become a railway man like his appointee John Evans in Colorado, exploiting the new transcontinental (and genocidal) railway his Presidency had sponsored, it would be hard to admire him quite as much…

     The wonderful Steven Spielberg and  Tony Kushner movie “Lincoln,” (2013) though it celebrates Thaddeus Stevens (something new in America 150 years after, peculiarly makes black soldiers, key to the victory of the North, but the backdrop for the “important” actions of whites.
[lxii] Brunsman’s Evil Necessity is, with some dilution of the moral force ofLemisch and Rediker, a good effort, but does not focus on crowd activity in the Revolution.
[lxiii] Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois, book 15 (1756) was a crucial text in England and the American Revolution on bondage for Founders (Madison, Jefferson and Franklin, for example, cite it), one that agrees with, though is more satirical than Philmore (1760).  But in contrast, Philmore learned directly from sailors, and the slave uprising in Jamaica.  His pamphlet fed directly into sailor and poor people’s meetings in tavens that led to the Revolution.

       In chapter 9, Montesquieu prefigured John Rawls’ original position:  

“On nations among whom civil liberty is generally established.
Every day one hears it said that it would be good if there were slaves among us.

But, to judge this, one must not examine whether they would be useful to the small, rich, and voluptuous part of each nation; doubtless they would be useful to it; but, taking another point of view, I do not believe that any one of those who make it up would want to draw lots to know who was to form the part of the nation that would be free and the one that would be enslaved. those who most speak in favor of slavery would hold it the most in horror, and the poorest of men would likewise find it horrible. Therefore, the cry for slavery is the cry of luxury and voluptuousness, and not that of the love of public felicity. Who can doubt that each man, individually, would not be quite content to be the master of the goods, the honor, and the life of others and that all his passions would not be awakened at once at this idea? Do you want to know whether the desires of each are legitimate in these things? Examine the desires of all.”

      In addition, the idea of a federal republic as a way to avoid the spread of popular rebellions against oppression, for instance, the Shays’ rebellion, was also drawn by Madison, Jay and Hamilton from Montesquieu; the appeal to Locke as, centrally, the founding thinker of the Revolution, as an unintended by-product, has obscured the central importance of this great political/social theorist.  I am indebted to Judith Shklar long ago for a brilliant tutorial on Montesquieu.
[lxiv] But mainstream history, as Lemisch suggests in “Presentism      .” also does not emphasize this feature of Locke.
[lxv] Nash, Race and Revolution.
[lxvi] Richard Ashcraft,  Revolutionary Politics and Locke’s Two Treatises of Government, Princeton,   , ch. 6 (“Class Conflict and Electoral Politics”).
[lxvii] Montesquieu, De l’esprit des lois (Gallimard, 1973), 1:389.  Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists, p. 53.
[lxviii] See the work of Bryan Stevenson  and the Equal Justice Initiative, which seeks to put up a plaque where each of the so far nearly 4,000 people identified were murdered…The response to the murders of 9 worshippers at Mother Emmanuel in Charleston this spring, bringing down some of the legion icons to the Confederacy in the South – what would be analogous to statues of Hitler and other Nazis all over Germany - underline the need, still distant in 2015, for this and other actions to remember and honor blacks and not slave-owners/Klansmen.
[lxix] Denver Brunsman,  p. 
[lxx] Lemisch, p. 385.
[lxxi] James Farr, “Locke, Natural Law, and New World Slavery,” Political Theory 36 (2008), p. 51.
[lxxii] Farr rightly says “Locke’s hands are dirty.” 2008, p. 51.
[lxxiii] Locke, Second Treatise, chapter xvi “Of Conquest,” paragraphs 181-84.
[lxxiv]  Hinshelwood just earned a law degree and a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard.  His essay was discussed, apparently without moral probing, in a Harvard group of political theorists…
[lxxv] Charles II issued a Charter to the Lords Proprietors to run the Colony in 1663.
[lxxvi] Hinshelwood, pp. 568-69.
[lxxvii] Hinshelwood, p. 571.
[lxxviii] Hinshelwood, idem.  “The Grand Council rationalized: ‘It did not matter that the Indians were not at war with the English; only that they were taken in war and that their captors sought to sell them.’ Such reasoning justified Shaftesbury’s profits in Indian slaves as well.”
[lxxix] Hinshelwood, p. 569.
[lxxx] Hinshelwood, p. 563 note 5.
[lxxxi] Nor did his editor at Political Theory Charitably, one might think, they may just assume it.  The first part of the following sentence seems pretty good, summarizing the contradiction of Locke’s natural liberty with the “Man-Trade” – though the fact that something is “stirring” does not, in itself, indicate moral approval and a contradiction in Locke’s argument internally and with known facts is not yet a condemnation of those facts: “Known for a stirring exposition of inviolable natural rights and the claim that ‘slavery is so vile and miserable an Estate of Man, and so directly opposite to the Temper and Courage of our nation.’ Locke also helped author the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina which guaranteed to Englishmen “absolute power and authority” over African slaves in the colony, and created a just war theory of slavery in the Second Treatise. The evidence for his involvement with the slave trade constitutes “an embarrassment of riches, a tale of intimate and informed involvement with all manner of slavery” and his theoretical views utilize a  just war theory that is grossly incongruous with the  reality of the slave trade as we know it – have attracted considerable interest form Locke scholars.” Hinshelwood, p. 563. The style of the article is otherwise descriptive of Locke marketing humans.
[lxxxii] Hinshelwood, pp. 564-65.
[lxxxiii] Hinshelwood,   , p. 575.
[lxxxiv] Locke, ch. 16, paragraph 176.
[lxxxv] Historians of political thought are often overly descriptive – something the journal Political Theory furthers – and do not, philosophically, probe the arguments of their subjects.  This, too, harms Hinshelwood’s account.
[lxxxvi] Locke, ch. 19, paragraph 232.
[lxxxvii] Hinshelwood gets the cause or setting of Locke’s use of just war theory right, but neither James Farr nor Hinshelwood see the contradictions in its application to indigenous people in Carolina, its role merely as an ideology for Man-trading, even though this is almost suggested by his phrase where “just-war considerations were front and center for Locke’s patron.”  In Hinshelwood’s words, “Thus, while Farr contends that “Locke’s theory of slavery . . . is consistent with his theory of natural rights, and even necessary given his theory of the just war,” Locke’s involvement with Carolina and references to America suggest that this gets the relationship backwards. Instead, Locke’s just-war theory is necessary to his theory of slavery because it provides a detailed framework for addressing the problems of Indian slavery in Carolina, where just-war considerations were front and center for Locke’s patron.“ (p. 567).
[lxxxviii] Philmore, pp. 56-57.
[lxxxix] The initial bombing in Libya to prevent Qaddafi from shooting people in Benghazi “like rats” or the bombing to protect the Yazidi from IS in the Sinjar mountains of Northern Iraq or the killing of Bin Laden (though see Seymour Hersh’s long article about it) might be examples…Nothing else is.
[xc]  When captured, Brown said: “I came to help those who were enslaved…I viewed myself as bound with them,” The multiracial band Brown led, of course, was not a state…

      At his trial, Brown said: “This court acknowledges, as I suppose, the validity of the law of God. I see a book kissed here which I suppose to be the Bible, or at least the New Testament. That teaches me that all things whatsoever I would that men should do to me, I should do even so to them. It teaches me, further, to ‘remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them.’ I endeavored to act up to that instruction. I say, I am yet too young to understand that God is any respecter of persons. I believe that to have interfered as I have done as I have always freely admitted I have done in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now, if it is deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit; so let it be done!”
[xci] chapter v, “Of Property,” par. 30.  Hinshelwood also points to some of these passages at  pp. 573-75 .
[xcii] Locke insists on the “justice” of hiring day laborers to produce for others – a claim also doubtful on his initial thesis – but says nothing of those forced illegitimately to labor.  If slaves should have owned what they produced, on Locke’s account, that fact raises additional problems which Locke’s theoretical writing ignores.
[xciii] Hinshelwood misses this fundamental issue entirely.  Robert Nozick, in Anarchy, the State and Utopia, does briefly turn to the issue of not leaving “as much and as good as before” in nature (the zip-back argument about claims to property) and reparations.  He does not look further into a “Lockean America” drenched in racism…
[xciv] Hinshelwood misses this key issue.
[xcv] ch. 5, paragraph 37.
[xcvi] Territorial Governor John Evans first saw some impoverished Indians near Denver.  Interview with H.H. Bancroft, 1884, p    .  But this was after the erection of trails for troops and Wells Fargo riders, the cutting in to hunting areas,  the driving off (and massacre, as General Sheridan is notorious for commanding) of buffalo, the beginnings of railroads…
[xcvii] Some 25 years ago, Barbara Traudt, my student, wrote a striking Ph.D. thesis criticizing Locke’s argument and studying , by way of contrast, the practices of the Lakota Sioux.
[xcviii] Curiously, in Carolina (the broad area which became much of Georgia, Alabama, North and South Carolina), after the brutalization/genocide/enslavement, many tribes became “American, Christian” farmers, and as productive as other farmers.   They were still driven out – along the Trail of Tears, with many deaths -by President Andrew Jackson.  Locke’s argument could not have justified that, though of course, “Locke” was invoked, in this case falsely, to do exactly that…
[xcix] chapter 5, paragraph 40-41.
[c] And of course, reading Dickens or Friedrich Engels’ Condition of the English Working Class (1845) would make one quite skeptical about the 19th century…H/t Dan Nicolai.
[ci]  Locke, Second Treatise, chap. 5 paragraph 41.  Much progressive scholarship turns, perversely, on the question of the extent to which Locke’s account of labor prefigures Marx’s theory of value.  See, for example, the C.B. MacPherson’s The Political Theory of Possessive Individualism.  And Locke was, as Richard Ashcraft details, involved with artisan radicalism.   As we have seen, Locke’s words against tyranny influence Mayhew, Allen and other revolutionaries.   Nonetheless, Locke advanced this argument on property as a slave-trader himself and a Secretary to “merchants” in indigenous people – that is, in Locke’s apt idiom, as the worst kind of Tyrant - and its main impact was falsely to license genocide against Native Americans.  That is a sad fate.
[cii] In the report of the Joint Congressional Committee on    , Senator Benjamin Wade said: “It is doubtful that beings in human form can have done such things.”  The Third Colorado Regiment, recruited by Evans, cut a foetus out of its mother’s womb and scalped; cut the genitals off women and men and paraded around Denver with them…See the letters of Lieutenants Silas Soule and Joseph Cramer reprinted in David Halaas and Gary Roberts, “Written in Blood    
[ciii] The 100 page report can be found at        .  See Evans interview with H.H. Bancroft, 1884, p. 89.
[civ] Evans, Interview with H.H. Bancroft, typescript, 1889, pp. 21-22.
[cv] On the 150th anniversary of the Massacre, on December 3, 2014, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, on the steps of the State Capitol, formally apologized to the descendants of the Cheyennes and Arapahoes who had engaged in a Spiritual Healing Run.
[cvi] Rediker rightly sees it as a key transitional point, equal in stature to the other two, but it is actually morally better than either of them.
[cvii] Article 2 section e of the United Nations Convention against Genocide bars the seizure of children of one group and resettling them in another.  That children are still stolen from Native Canadian and American families to be raised in white households, in the Canadian case, even in Minnesota, is a practice that has just barely ended in 2015.  See         Alan Gilbert   ; the National Public Radio series on social workers kidnapping indigenous children and finally, in one case, being stopped, took place in 2011.
[cviii] Lerone Bennett The Road not Taken.  See also Paine’s fears, in  Rediker, p.  
[cix] Peter Silver, ‘Our Savage Neighbors’:      2009.
[cx] Alan Gilbert, Democratic Individuality, ch. 10 (1990).
[cxi] A coherent notion of “ideology” involves false views which a group of people tend to believe based on their social position.  For instance, as Governor and seizer of native American lands, Evans knew, as a onetime Quaker, that Indians were fully human, yet adopted ferociously racist ideas in murdering them.   John Locke rightly argued that all men were created equal in the state of nature, yet as a practitioner of slave-ownership in the New World, adopted racist ideas to sanction his own monstrous activity. 

    Any assertion that every view is an ideology and hence, false, is self-refuting (i.e. the assertion itself must be untrue…).  See the conclusion of this article, Democratic Individuality, ch. 1, and Hilary Putnam, Reason, Truth and History, p. 4
[cxii] Steven Schwartzberg,     , forthcoming.
[cxiii] This example shows that strict construction of the constitution, notwithstanding Scalia and the Federalist Society, is a farce…
[cxiv] Rediker, pp. 94-95 eloquently describes this transition but attributes it primarily to Sam Adams in 1747-8 in the Independent Advertizer.   Philmore’s argument was more worked out and focused on slavery.  But as Rediker also says of Adams:

“Adams saw that the mob embodied ‘the fundamental  rights of man against which the government itself could be judged.’…[he] thus moved from ‘the rights of Engslishmen’ to the broader, more universal idiom of natural rights and the rights of man  in 1747.   Adams faced a dilemma, and one likely reason why may be found in the composition of the crowd that instructed him.  How could he watch a crowd of Africans,  Scotsmen, Dutchmen, Irishmen,  and Englishmen battle the press gang and then describe them as simply engaged  in a struggle for the ‘rights of Englishmen.”  How could he square the apparently traditional Lockean ideas in his Harvard master’s thesis of 1743 [Rediker mistakenly suggests that even Locke emphasizes Englishmen in the state of nature, whereas Locke instead says that all men are free, equal and independent] with the activities of “Foreign Seaman, Servants, Negroes and others Persons of mean and vile Condition who led the riot of 1747?”
[cxv] Granville Sharp, the great anti-slavery political activist and theorist – see Black Patriots and Loyalists, ch. 8, also wrote against Impressment in a 1777 preface to General James Oglethorpe's The Sailor's Advocate.  As Oglethorpe say in the pamphlet:  How can it be expected that a man fight for others whilst he himself feels the pangs of slavery?” cited in Julie Anne Sweet,
The British Sailors' Advocate: James Oglethorpe's First Philanthropic Venture
The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 91, No. 1 (Spring 2007), p. pp. 11-12.   
[cxvi] Nauticus, The Rights of the Sailors Vindicated, pp. 43-44.
[cxvii] Second Treatise, ch. VIII “Of the Beginning of Political Societies” opens:
“95.  Men being, as has been said, by nature all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this estate and subject to the political power of another without his own consent.  The only way whereby any one divests himself of his natural liberty and puts on the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe and peaceable living one amongst another, in a secure enjoyment of their properties and a greater security against any that are not of it.”  Those ends are for a public or common good; the agreements or compacts of this society, subject democratically to majority rule (paragraph 97), are political.   Impressment was the precise Tyrannical opposite…
[cxviii] Nauticus, The rights of the sailors vindicated, 1772, pp. 35-37

[cxix] Rediker,  “Motley Crew,” p. 102
[cxx] The obvious conflict of interest here was not mentioned in the media…
[cxxi] There were fewer riots in the United States against press-gangs, but far more spectacular ones…
[cxxii] Lemisch,     ,  underlines the upper class assertions by mainstream historians of the 1960s of the ostensible lack, by sailors, of their own voice, let alone a critical one, among sailors and the substitution of middle class leaders.  Reading Stanley’s account is a pretty vivid suggestion that this haughtiness/laziness is foolish.
[cxxiii] Gilbert, Democratic Individuality, ch. 1.
[cxxiv] David Halaas and Gary W. Roberts, “Written in Blood” recovers, after 100 years, the letters of Lieutenant Silas Soule and Joseph Cramer to Major Ned Wynkoop which triggered the Congressional and military hearings.
[cxxv] This was especially the interpretation when the Ku Klux Klan ran Colorado (the era of Mayor Stapleton in the 1920s…).
[cxxvi] Indian Commissioner Dole in Washington who was also asked to resign in fact did try to stop Evans.  See the DU report on Evans and Sand Creek,   .
[cxxvii] See Democratic Individuality, ch. 1.
[cxxviii] Haley, sadly, is creepy about Black Lives Matter, a new “Republican” trope.
[cxxix] That such other great leaders as Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey and David Walker were sailors also underlines this point.

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