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I've been doing research lately on my father's family, and I've come into something very bizarre.  I'm as white as the driven snow, and although we know that my paternal grandmother's family came from Scotland to the United States, we never knew when or how.  Going through records that my father has, we came across a possible answer, but I'm not sure it's even plausible.  Apparently, my distant ancestor Tormut Rose was deported to America by Cromwell and sold as a slave.

I've always had the notion that slavery in America was a purely black African affair, but according to this copy of a page from an out of print book my father has, it was not.  Tormut Rose was an officer in the Scottish Convenater army led by General David Leslie to drive Cromwell's forces from Scotland, retain the independence of the Scottish church, and restore Charles II to the throne of Scotland and England (that having been brought into personal union in 1604.)  In 1650, after having driven the English back to Dunbar, the Scottish army came upon Cromwell's forces, but on the advice of preachers did not attack on a Sunday.  Crowell's forces launched a sneak attack on the Scots that night, killing hundreds, and capturing the rest.

Fearing that the prisoners would only rise again if released, Cromwell, ordered them force marched to Durham, and from there deported to English colonial possessions in the Americas.  Once in America, Tormut was sold into slavery to work in Saugus Iron Works, America's first integrated ironworks.  From 1650 to roughly 1660 he was held as labor for the Iron Works.  In 1660, he and others were release.  Somehow his freedom was purchased.   Later that year his son would found a settlement at Block Island in Rhode Island.  

I've been able to confirm several things, there was a Battle at Dunbar in 1650, the survivors were deported to America.  There was an ironworks at Saugus, but on the webpage of the offical historical site, there is no mention of Scottish slaves. I have a few questions, and I'm hoping that the UK continegent can help me out.

How many Scots were deported by Cromwell to the Americas?

Is it plausible that they were held in slavery?

How did they gain their freedom?  Was there a subscription at the churches like when Christian were captured and held as slaves by Muslin Corsairs in Morrocco?  Did the Scottish Goverment buy their freedom?  Is it just that the Cromwell government fell?

If Tormut Rose was brought to America, and sold as a slave, then there's an entire American history of which most people here know nothing. And has not been acknowledge officially by the US government.  Of course this was during the colonial period, so the truth mat lay in London rather than Washington.  I just have to wonder if my family came to America as Scottish slaves, how many others have the same heritage and don't even know it?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:12:50 PM EST
Can you re-post it as it is?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure.

I didn't want to diary because I have no links.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:23:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That never stopped me ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:46:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Chains are entirely optional.

So is golf.

;-)


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:51:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Links or no links, you must post it on Progressive Historians.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 03:18:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I will later.

I want to flesh it out.  Laurent just posted something about Irish slaves in the English colonies.  So it wasn't just the Scots.  The source he has says that the number of Irish deported and sold as slaves in America between 1650 and 1660, exceeded the number of free inhabitants.  If true this means that most white Americans with ancestors in New England before 1700 are most likely the desecendents of slaves.  And the poor lot of us think that it was just the blacks that where sold like cattle.

So many ways that this changes the history of my country.     Slavery has largely been appropriated by the descendants of black slaves in America, and there's this idea that people came to America willingly seeking a better life.  And as for Cromwell, this certainly looks like ethnic cleansing on a scale that's hard to imagine.   Ick...

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 03:26:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
just googled a little "white slaves" "scottish slaves" etc...

http://www.electricscotland.com/history/other/white_slavery.htm


Marcellus Rivers and Oxenbridge Foyle, England's Slaves 1659 consists of a statement smuggled out of the New World and published in London referring to whites in bondage who did not think of themselves as indentured servants but as "England's Slaves" and "England's merchandise."

Colonial Office, Public Records Office, London 1667, no. 170 records that "even Blacks referred to the White forced laborers in the colonies as "white slaves."  Pages 343 through 346 of Historical Sketch of the Persecutions Suffered by the Catholics of Ireland by; Patrick F. Moran refers to the transportation of the Irish to the colonies as the "slave-trade."

Ulrich B. Phillips, Life and Labor in the Old South explain that white enslavement was crucial to the development of the Negro slave system.  The system set up for the white slaves governed, organized and controlled the system for the black slaves.  Black slaves were "late comers fitted into a system already developed."  Pp 25-26.  John Pory declared in 1619, "white slaves are our principle wealth."

The above quotations from various authors are just the tip of the iceberg on the white slave trade of the Americas.  People from the British Isles were kidnapped, put in chains and crammed into ships that transported hundreds of them at a time.  Their destination was Virginia Boston, New York, Barbados and the West Indies.  The white slaves were treated the same or worse than the black slave.  The white slave did not fetch a good price at the auction blocks.  Bridenbaugh wrote in his accounting on page 118, having paid a bigger price for the Negro, the planters treated the black better than they did their "Christian" white servant.  Even the Negroes recognized this and did not hesitate to show their contempt for those white men who, they could see, were worse off than themselves.

see even

http://www.geocities.com/~sconemac/slavery.html

The Forgotten Slaves: Whites in Servitude in Early America and Industrial Britain
http://www.revisionisthistory.org/forgottenslaves.html

Why do Welsh names seem to be so common within the African American community ?
http://www.data-wales.co.uk/plantations.htm

by oldfrog on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:01:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do post that in the other thread, please.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:12:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder where our resident Irishmen is at.  

It looks as though it wasn't just Scots but Irish too.  

The link Laurent gives, says that the number of Irish slaves  sent in the 1650's exceeded that free population of the colonies.  Which would mean that most likely most white Americans with ancestors from that time are descended from white slaves.......

Talk about a mind trip.....

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:33:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Australia was a prison colony with forced labour, so there you go.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:43:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that is an extremely well-known fact and constitutes a major part of Australia's foundation myth.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Mar 18th, 2007 at 03:09:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sources.

Have to be very careful.  Electric Scotland looks ok, but revisionist history one is published by a holocaust denier.  Hence the desire to gather more sources.  I'm seriously thinking about this.  Depending on what I find, I think that there may be a book in here.  It wouldbe something more meaningful to do with my summer than working in a call center.  More enjoyable no less.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:28:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This sounds like an incredibly interesting genealogy project.

I suggested posting on Progressive Historians especially because the likelihood of finding a historian of colonial North America there is quite high, and they might give you pointers.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Slavery has largely been appropriated by the descendants of black slaves in America"

You probably didn't mean this to be, but the wording is quite offensive.  The descendants of black slaves in America did not "appropriate" slavery -- it is their history -- the slave trade in America was built on their ancestors backs, the whole rationale for slavery in that chapter of history was built on prejudice against them, and their people suffer to this day because of it.  The same cannot be claimed by the descendents of white slaves, however brutal the individual circumstances at the time.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:45:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the fine line one has to toe here, and probably the reason holocaust deniers have information on white slaves on the page linked in a parallel comment.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 04:47:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I should never have posted this, I can see that this is going to degenerate into something I didn't intend.  When one particular incidence of a phenomena comes to be seen as the whole breadth and scope of a phenomena it crowds out the story of all the other times that the same thing happened under different contexts.  

And ultimately, when we lock one of history's little horrors into a specific context we ensure that it will happen again.  Because in doing so we deny that the phenomena is native to the human condition, seeing it as an abberation, rather than a possibility that must be guarded against.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:19:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On the contrary, you first need to post it to a friendly audience.

What I mean is that the topic is a minefield and one has to be careful not to be interpreted as diminishing the significance of other cases of slavery. And you did mention having to be careful of revisionist sources.

And I agree with your point, it's like holocaust survivors downplaying other genocides, or other massacred people trying to "raise" their "status" to "victims of genocide". The way 'genocide' is abused, so slavery can be abused, in both directions.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:28:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Slavery and genocide are wrong regardless of context, and that's what get's lost when the general phenomena becomes conflated with the specific case.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:32:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
True.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:38:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What's really bothering me here is that if many white Americans are descended from Europeans brought without their consent to the New World it means that people off all colors have something in common, and it makes it much harder for real racists to use slavery as a way to demonize African Americans, because they too are descended from people brought here against their will.  And that makes is substantially easier to recognize that racial distinctions have been manipulated by economic elites to prevent people who're getting screwed by the system from standing together to confront it.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:45:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that is obviously the broader political conclusion of raising awareness of indentured servitude in the colonies.

Time to revisit what Howard Zinn has to say about the colonial period? He does make the case that racism was used in the late 19th century to prevent class solidarity between blacks and poor whites in the South after Emancipation.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:50:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it means that people off all colors have something in common"

I agree with your interpretation of the argument -- that this could be used to unify -- and think it's an excellent one to make.  However, you should be aware that the very same point is frequently made by racist groups to claim that this nullifies any current claims of prejudice, so it is, as you say, a potential minefield.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 06:03:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This could be really interesting to write about, but I think it's the type of book that would get my envelopes with white powder in them, or just plain old death threats.  Plus it's a lot of writing.  There's a production company in my state that does a lot of documentary workd for TV channels, if I could gather enough to make a script.....

Death threats.....

</sigh>

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 06:12:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed, and I didn't mean to sound discouraging, it's just that sensitive topics require sensitive handling and language.  I think these are the topics most worthy of exploration, but they're tricky.  You'll have to expect to be challenged, and open to others' sensitivities without being sensitive yourself.  Sometimes these are the very reasons things aren't written about and make them all the more worth doing.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 05:45:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is the link to ManfromMiddletown's diary  Scottish Slaves for New England? if you want to add the comments there.
by Fran on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 02:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Danke Fran.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 02:41:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
During that time there was a group called "Indentured Servants" which were, more or less, limited-time slaves.  An owner would buy their 'contracts' (?) and garner all of the value of their labor over the life of the 'contract.' By your description your ancestor was one as 10 years was a common 'contract' length, IIRC.

(I put contract in single quotes to indicate I don't know a better word to use.)  

Convict labor was also used and I vaguely remember there were white life-time slaves as well.  Eventually (white) people became uncomfortable about owning white slaves and the practice died out.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:48:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This book, Ironworks on the Saugus by E.N. Hartley, used the word slave rather than indentured servant, which is what started this.  I know about indentured servants, but European slaves in New England.  Is it a meaningful distinction between slaves and indetured servants?  If someone is sold against their will, does that make them a slave?  If this happened how many Scots were deported, and sold into servitude/slavery by Cromwell?  Why isn't this in the history books.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 01:56:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would have to research further to speak with authority, but I do recall that there were a small number of white Scots sent to America as slaves.  They were apart from the indentured category, which was generally a voluntary act by which a person sold him/herself into a period of servitude to pay for ships passage or land rights etc.  These Scots were not convicted criminals, in the strictest sense, either. I am fairly confident that your ancestors could have been, as reported, one time slaves.  Slavery has never been limited to persons of one race or another.  Everyone seems to recall only the US situation with Africans, but slavery was the norm in ancient times and it still exists, of course.  During a recent visit to Thailand, we read about slavery there which existed at the same time as African slavery in the new world.  The King became concerned around the time of the civil war and decided to end the practice.  His methodology perhaps proved wiser than that undertaken in the US.  He simply decreed that all the children of slaves would be born free.  This solution, though not of great benefit to slaves themselves was easier to take because it gave them hope for future generations and slave owners did not have to be compensated for lost "property."  The transition from the situation of slavery to freedom was also without strife.   The fact that most slaves were probably ethnically similar to their masters may have played a role as well.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Mar 17th, 2007 at 02:23:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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