Cotton

… The slaveholders demanded, and secured, recognition in the Constitution. But slavery being given up, from conscientious motives, in the States of one half of the Union, and being impoverishing in its nature, it was expected that it would soon cease everywhere ; especially as the foreign slave trade was forbidden. But England, through her inventions, becoming the great cotton manufacturing nation, and the slaveholding States becoming the great cotton raising region, slaves rapidly rose in value, and with this increase of wealth came an increased importance to this interest. England’s factories alone made this system mighty.

With this prosperity came also another power, working on the conscience of the people, demanding the suppression of the iniquity. To this cry, we are happy to say, England contributed. Had she done so by refusing slave-labor cotton, we should have long since, and peaceably, extirpated the evil.

Haven, Gilbert,  “Letter to the London Watchman, written from Paris, July 4, 1862″, National sermons. Sermons, speeches and letters on slavery and its war: from the passage of the Fugitive slave bill to the election of President Grant

Haven, Gilbert, (1821-1880) was a bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church from Massachusetts.  In the early stages of this blog, we have not yet started cataloging all of the words related to the kinds of suffering that were brought on by American slavery. But here is a short excerpt from a book of sermons and addresses, and we hear the charge it’s largely about cotton.   England is given some credit for getting rid of its own slavery, but the lust for cotton, and caring not how it is obtained, is given blame for the economic survival of slavery elsewhere. They kept paying the bills. For cotton.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we know that you hear when workers who are denied their wages cry out (James 5). Let us not repeat the mistake of looking only to our own benefit when participating in the market. Forgive us and renew us and heal us. AMEN. 

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