There are claims circulating that there was an Irish Slavery Trade
A Global Research web-site article about white slavery has gone viral. People circulating the piece claim that there has been a conspiracy to cover up the subject. This has caused an uproar, and historians such as Liam Hogan have rushed to unpack the claims.
The article is by John Martin
( no reference exists as to who he is ).
He included a picture of the book cover for White Cargo written by Don Jordon and Michael Walsh. This book conflates slavery with indentured servitude. This can give rise to grave misconceptions.
Being a slave and experiencing slavery are separate concepts
The physical experience of slavery is surely horrific. However, this is different to the experience of slavery as a state of personhood.
Beyond the esoteric idea that slavery is a state of mind, is the fact that a slave is the property of an owner. This ownership is a legal transaction that exists within a particular society’s framework that permits it.
The life that a slave experiences, once they become chattel, would obviously vary
But the fact remains, the slave has, by an external force, lost their personhood. Their owner writes their future, and the future of their children. The slave has no permission to dream for his or her own future. The slave is not permitted personal hope.
They do not belong to themselves, according to the law. Their purchase did not take occur between them and their owner. The purchase took place by parties that don’t view the slave as having human rights.
It is the conditions that slaves lived within that causes confusion. Indentured servants could absolutely live in conditions that are identical to a slave.
But the fact remains that the personhood of an indentured servant and a slave were eons apart.
The framework that society lived within defined the lines between servants and slaves clearly. In indentured servant was most likely a willing participant.
Promised food and shelter, they submitted to 7 years under the employment of a Master. Under the law, once the 7 years expired, their Master had an obligation to free them. Included in these legally binding Freedom Dues was a parcel of land.
The indentured servant could dream of the future
They had a personhood that the law denied the slave. There is the argument that the British forced many Irish people into indentured servitude.
They transported thousands of political prisoners, vagrants, and undesirables to the West Indies. However, even a forcibly indentured servant only had 7 years to tolerate their sentence.
Whether an indentured servant received their Freedom Dues is a separate issue.
Tragically, history does show that many indentured servants lost their lives before the 7 year period ended
Visitors to plantations that contained Irish workers did report appalling conditions. An English adventurer during the period, John Scott, described how they worked alongside slaves. He claimed that the slaves referred to the Irish as “white slaves” and derided them.
Another easily disproven myth is that of supposed mulatto Irish/African slave interbreeding
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