Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 2

Slave cabins in Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

This series of posts focuses on the prices of slaves and some of the economics of the slave system as discussed in the book Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson.

First post:  introduction, why discuss prices, manumission

Term slaves

Another grim aspect of a slave economy is the difference between a “slave for life” and a “term slave.” As a matter of course a slave remained a slave until death unless granted manumission.

An interesting twist is the idea of granting manumission at some point in the future. For example a young adult, say in the twenties, could be granted manumission upon reaching age 35 or 40. Infants or children could be granted manumission upon reaching 20 or 40 or some other age.

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 2”

Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 1

Rusty old shackles with padlock, key and open handcuff used for locking up prisoners or slaves between 1600 and 1800. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman: Portrait of an American Hero, by Kate Clifford Larson provides the first adult biography of Harriet Tubman published since 1943.

I read the book after watching the new movie Harriet. I heartily recommend both the book and the movie. If you want to add another hero to the list of people you admire, check out the life story of Harriet Tubman.

There are lots of reviews of the movie and book. This post will not be a review of either the book or movie. Only direct comment I’ll make on the book is that after self-liberating from slavery, Harriet Tubman made about 13 trips back to the eastern shore of Maryland to help about 70 other slaves escape. She liberated most of her family, missing only her remarried husband and a few nieces and nephews if I recall correctly. She also gave detailed instructions to around 50 other slaves so they could escape on their own (location 154).

Instead this post will focus on one aspect of slavery covered in the book, specifically the price of slaves on the eastern shore of Maryland in the years prior to the civil war.

 

Why discuss the price of slaves?

Continue reading “Prices of slaves on the Eastern Shore of Maryland before the Civil War – Part 1”

Indicator of soldier’s pay late in the Civil War. Racial disparity in pay rates.

The Old Flag Never Touched the Ground” by The National Guard is courtesy of the U.S. Government. Painting illustrates the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment as the regiment of African-American soldiers attacked Fort Wagner. Although unsuccessful, the attack proved black soldiers could fight as well as whites.

Hymns of the Republic by S. C. Gwynne cites an editorial on May 1, 1864 in the Chicago Tribune titled “Read and Blush” which criticized the wide disparity in pay between black and white soldiers.

This editorial is useful for two reasons. First, it reports the pay rates then in effect. Second it reveals the racism built into society at the time.

The monthly pay rates in April 1864, with another year remaining in the war:

Continue reading “Indicator of soldier’s pay late in the Civil War. Racial disparity in pay rates.”

Pilum – javelin used by Roman Legionnaires.

Image of pilum courtesy of Adobe Stock.

A Pilum (plural pila) was a javelin thrown by Roman Legionnaires to disrupt an enemy line moments before closing for hand-to-hand contact.

The pilum was about 6 or 6 1/2 feet long, weighing between 2 and 5 pounds (heavier early in Roman era, lighter later).  There was an iron shaft at the front which was about a quarter inch diameter and about 2 feet long. A wood pole, 4 feet long or so was attached to the metal shaft. The wood added plenty of mass to the pilum giving it good penetration capacity. A point on the base of the pilum made it usable to stack with other pila in camp or plant in the ground for an ad hoc defense from cavalry.

A hard triangular tip was designed to punch through armor. With enough force it could penetrate a shield.

Continue reading “Pilum – javelin used by Roman Legionnaires.”

A few indicators for King Solomon’s wealth – part 3

Bronze statuette of the Roman war in a chariot with two horses . Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Previous post took a guess at quantifying the value of King Solomon’s chariots and warhorses. Earlier post estimated the number of warhorses King Solomon owned along with the number of chariots in his kingdom.

Here is another text that allows us to make estimates of some portions of his vast wealth.

Kings text

1 Kings 10: 14-29 (emphasis added to highlight specific valuations):

Continue reading “A few indicators for King Solomon’s wealth – part 3”