Magazine November 11, 2019, Issue

The New York Manumission Society

(Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Inspired by America’s exceptional idea, it took a vital step toward securing liberty for slaves

New York was a middling state where slavery was concerned. It did not support the plantations of Virginia and the Deep South, but it was bound to slavery both as a business partner and as a practitioner. Colonial New Yorkers made rum out of Caribbean sugar. Small farmers and artisans before and after the American Revolution employed slave laborers. The wealthy were attended by enslaved servants. An English visitor to Robert Livingston’s Hudson River estate, eager to meet a transatlantic man of enlightened views, was surprised to find himself being served at meals by barefoot black boys wearing fine embroidered

This article appears as “‘These Our Brethren’” in the November 11, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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