Survey of Negro Slavery

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A Survey of  “Negro Slavery in Colonial Rhode Island”,

Thanks to Caroline Hazard

May 16, 2008,

Submitted by Helen Farrell Allen broadened April 21, 2010

The Bishop of London, in his Pastoral Letter of 1725, addressed to the Masters and Mistresses of Families in the English Plantation declared, “Let me beseech you to consider your slaves as men and women who have the same frame and faculties with yourselves, souls capable of happiness, and reason and understanding to receive instruction in order to it.”

“Negro Slavery in Colonial Rhode Island” is one of Esther Bernon Carpenter’s chapters in South County Studies of Some Eighteenth Century Persons, Places & Conditions in that Part of Rhode Island called NARRAGANSETT. “Printed for the Subscribers” in 1924 at D. B. Updike’s Merrymount Press. We can guess who the chief subscriber was, and who, indeed, footed Updike’s bills. Including Miss Carpenter’s chapter, “Negro Slavery in Rhode Island” in 1924 reflects the Hazards’ pride in their long-standing positions against slavery. “College” Tom Hazard freed his slaves in 1745, as a young man setting up his plantation. Rowland Hazard, (1763-1835) founder of the Peace Dale Manufacturing Company shipped cloth to the South, “Negro cloth” bought by plantation owners. Swatches of this cloth, held at the Harvard Business School reveals this much-reviled material, at least in its Hazard version to be lovely stuff, duo-color, and loosely woven for comfort in the Southern heat.

Mr. Hazard regularly toured the South on business. His travels included New Orleans, where he is famed for having seen to the release, hiring local lawyers, of slaves held illegally in that city’s jail.

In 1894 Rowland Hazard admired the preaching of a young black seminarian to his fellows, summer help in the hotels of Narragansett Pier. He befriended him, and supported his education at Phillips Academy, Andover as well as Lincoln University, chartered in 1854 outside. The benefactor of this largess was Joseph Winthrop Holley.