The Irish slave trade began when 30,000 Irish prisoners were sold as slaves to the New World. The King James I Proclamation of 1625 required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid 1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves. Ireland quickly became the biggest source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white. From 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and another 300,000 were sold as slaves. Ireland’s population fell from about 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one single decade. Families were ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish dads to take their wives and children with them across the Atlantic. This led to a helpless population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well. During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children between the ages of 10 and 14 were taken from their parents and sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia and New England. In this decade, 52,000 Irish (mostly women and children) were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were also transported and sold to the highest bidder. In 1656, Cromwell ordered that 2000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers. Many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves what they truly were: Slaves. They’ll come up with terms like “Indentured Servants” to describe what occurred to the Irish. However, in most cases from the 17th and 18th centuries, Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle. As an example, the African slave trade was just beginning during this same period. It is well recorded that African slaves, not tainted with the stain of the hated Catholic theology and more expensive to purchase, were often treated far better than their Irish counterparts. African slaves were very expensive during the late 1600s (50 Sterling). Irish slaves came cheap (no more than 5 Sterling). If a planter whipped or branded or beat an Irish slave to death, it was never a crime. A death was a monetary setback, but far cheaper than killing a more expensive African. The English masters quickly began breeding the Irish women for both their own personal pleasure and for greater profit. Children of slaves were themselves slaves, which increased the size of the master’s free workforce. Even if an Irish woman somehow obtained her freedom, her kids would remain slaves of her master. Thus, Irish moms, even with this new found emancipation, would seldom abandon their kids and would remain in servitude. In time, the English thought of a better way to use these women (in many cases, girls as young as 12) to increase their market share: The settlers began to breed Irish women and girls with African men to produce slaves with a distinct complexion. These new “mulatto” slaves brought a higher price than Irish livestock and, likewise, enabled the settlers to save money rather than purchase new African slaves. This practice of interbreeding Irish females with African men went on for several decades and was so widespread that, in 1681, legislation was passed “forbidding the practice of mating Irish slave women to African slave men for the purpose of producing slaves for sale.” In short, it was stopped only because it interfered with the profits of a large slave transport company. England continued to ship tens of thousands of Irish slaves for more than a century. Records state that, after the 1798 Irish Rebellion, thousands of Irish slaves were sold to both America and Australia. There were horrible abuses of both African and Irish captives. One British ship even dumped 1,302 slaves into the Atlantic Ocean so that the crew would have plenty of food to eat. There is little question that the Irish experienced the horrors of slavery as much (if not more in the 17th Century) as the Africans did. There is, also, very little question that those brown, tanned faces you witness in your travels to the West Indies are very likely a combination of African and Irish ancestry. In 1839, Britain finally decided on its own to end its participation in Satan’s highway to hell and stopped transporting slaves. While their decision did not stop pirates from doing what they desired, the new law slowly concluded THIS chapter of nightmarish Irish misery. But, if anyone, black or white, believes that slavery was only an African experience, then they’ve got it completely wrong. Irish slavery is a subject worth remembering, not erasing from our memories.
The crisis of the coronavirus-induced economic lockdown and now the violent protests in the streets have unleashed a depression-level financial crisis and unprecedented human suffering -- especially in our inner cities. These events have also exposed a Grand Canyon-sized chasm that now separates how the left and the right see America today. To wit:
No. 1: The right believes that stay-at-home orders and social distancing requirements are counterproductive and should be repealed safely and immediately. The left believes that those orders must stay in place but should only apply to those on the right, not to liberal protesters.
No. 2: The right engages in nonviolence. The left shows tacit support for mob violence.
No. 3: The right believes the best way to revive the economy is to incentivize a dormant workforce to get back on the job. The left believes that the best way to revive the economy is to pay people more money not to work than to work.
No. 4: When the right protests against injustice, such as 40 million people losing their jobs due to lockdowns, it is always during the light of day so they can be seen and heard. The left protests in the dark so people can't see what crimes some of the protestors are committing.
No. 5: When the right attends rallies, they carry the American flag. When the left protests (and riots), the only American flags you see are burned.
No. 6: The right believes there are limits to how much governments can spend and borrow to avoid national bankruptcy and financial ruin. The left believes that trillions of dollars of added spending and debt are advisable and benign.
No. 7: When the right holds rallies, the protesters clean up after themselves. When the left protests, they ransack and burn their neighborhoods, spray-paint obscene graffiti and leave a mess of litter and trash everywhere for someone else to clean up. Yet leftists say they are the environmentalists.
No. 8: The right stands in support of small-business people's rights and has been asking businesses like hardware stores, run by immigrants or other minority owners, to open up. The left's rallies lead to looting and burning down the hardware stores.
No. 9: The right believes the best way to get people back to work is by getting money straight to people's paychecks through a payroll tax cut. The left thinks the best course is to give money to mayors, governors and other politicians.
No. 10: The right wants to help prevent racism in urban police forces by firing incompetent and bigoted police officers. The left stands by the unions, which prevent police from being fired.
No. 11: The right wants to make America look like Florida and Texas. The left wants the rest of the nation to look like New York and Illinois -- which are crumbling from rioting, lockdowns, high taxes and an accelerating stampede of businesses leaving the state.
Those are the monumentally important choices America faces. This is what the 2020 elections are all about on Nov. 3.