The Alleged Abduction of Negroes

April 1, 1868


William Allen from Richmond was caught trying to kidnap black citizens and sell them as slaves. It is quite possible this story is false but if not Southern citizens have adapted new commercial ethics and morals.


The Alleged Abduction of Negroes. A paragraph appeared in this paper yesterday, copied from the New Orleans Republican (Radical), giving an account of the arrival of two vessels at Matanzas, a port of the island of Cuba, with about twenty freedmen, who had engaged to go to Key West, and that as they had been carried to Matanzas instead, it was "presumed " the whites who owned the vessels tended to sell them as slaves. These whites bore southern names, and one of them (William Allen) is alleged to be from this city. The news comes through a suspicious channel, and in a roundabout way. It may be true. If so, our southern people are becoming more rapidly imbued with the cunning and money-making shifts of the far North than we had supposed possible. They must have been fascinated by studying the rich results of the slave trade on the seas conducted by the Puritans in the latter part of the last century and beginning of the present. We never heard that a southern man engaged abducting and selling negroes except Lamar, of the Wanderer, who, just before the war, on the question of the right to carry on the trade at sea, with the spirit of a fanatic, attempted to conduct it in defiance of law, in which he lost his vessel, and possibly all he had. While we fear new moralities and commercial ethics have been introduced rather rapidly, we trust it may turn out that this tale is another fabrication out of whole cloth.
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Mallory Haskins




“The Alleged Abduction of Negroes,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 30, 2023,