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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876
in the deepest ignorance and vice, and knew but one thing
    Thus neglected and abused, the early slaves were de-
termined to throw off the yoke. The first attempt at in-
surrection was made in New York, in 1712, when, if it had
not been for the promptness and firmness of the military,
the city would have been razed to the ground. Another
such attempt was made in South Carolina, in 1720.  It was
a street fight. Troops were raised by the authorities, and
many of the slaves captured and executed.
    This spirit found its way into Virginia.  In December,
1722, three hundred slaves, near the Rappahannock river,
armed themselves with the determination to murder the
whites as they came from church. Their plan was discov-
ered, and a terrible slaughter averted only through the
most speedy and severe measures.
    Massachusetts slaves were no strangers to the wide-
spread and righteous desire to be free. They rose there
with such decisiveness, patriotism, and valor that on the
l8th of April, 1723, the Rev. Joseph Sewall preached a
sermon on "The late fires yt have broken out in Boston, sup-
posed to be purposely set by ye Negroes."  And the selectmen
of the town of Boston made a report on the following
Monday, consisting of nineteen articles, of which this is
the ninth:  "That if more than two Indians, negro, or
mulatto servants or slaves be found in the streets or high-
ways in or about the town, idling or lurking together, un-
less in the service of their master or employer, every one
so found shall be punished at the house of correction."  I
could devote the whole day to a history of the slave insur-
rections in the colonies, north and south; but suffice it to
say that no State that held slaves was passed by in these
moments of resentment and the rising of the immortal in
man that will not be chained! The time soon came when


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Centennial: The American Negro from 1776-1876; Oration Delivered at Avondale, Ohio, 1876



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