The Slave Trade

February 15, 1850

Here is a series of letters, between a free colored woman, a Mr. Harnard, Esq., of New York, and Bruin & Hill, slave dealers from Alexandria.  Mrs. Nancy Cartwright, who has purchased her own freedom, and some of her children from slavery, receives a letter from a daughter, Emily Russell, pleading for her mother to come and get her, because she fears that she “may go away” soon.   Mr. Harnard has received a copy, and writes to Mr. Joseph Bruin, and inquires about the price by which he might sell the daughter to her mother.  The reply, from Bruin & Hill, from Alexandria, dated Jan 31, 1850, says, in part:  “All I have to say about the matter, is that we paid very high for the negroes, and cannot afford to sell the girl Emily for less than EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS.  This may seem a high price to you, but cotton being very high, consequently slaves are high. We have two or three offers for Emily from gentlemen from the South.  She is said to be the finest looking woman in this country.  … We expect to start South with the negroes on the 8th of February, and if you intend to do any thing, you had better do it soon.”
The editor comments:  “Henry Clay proposes to bind the North not to interfere with such accursed transactions as are here developed.  What say the people of the North?

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