". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Isaac Franklin: Slave Trader and Planter of the Old South (With Plantation Records)

Isaac Franklin wasn't just a major player in the Trade up here in Maryland and Virginia, he was a game changer in the Trade, an early trade speculator.

Then he sold out and moved to Louisiana. Where he bought six (6) plantations. He lived very well and prosperously. In fact, one of those plantations is where the ceremonies and dinner for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities were held in which V received the award for best history of Louisiana last year.

When he died there was a great deal of attention paid. But none of that attention in the long obits of the newspapers mentioned that he had been a speculator (which, believe it or not is a different category of slave trade than slave trader).

He died very wealthy, but he died young. Very young for someone of his kind. One might hope that was some sort of retribution -- his plantations in Louisiana were, of course, sugar plantations, and those bought to work sugar had short lives -- for the speculation slave trade that allowed Isaac to buy 6 sugar plantations in Louisiana.  His company scoured the Eastern Shore  of Maryland empty of likely stock (mostly male, mostly between 14 - 25, trained farm workers) to be sold in New Orleans for these sugar plantations.  He and his partner shipped them via their own slave ships.

I have Isaac's biography here (1938). It is not in print. If one were to try and purchase it used, the lowest price is $500. Thank goodness for interlibrary loan. However, because this volume is priced at $500, I can have it only for two weeks.


K. said...

I just read Jill Lepore's article in The New Yorker about George W. It seems that Washington's false teeth were supplied in part by pulling teeth from his slaves. I can't even imagine the terror and the pain involved, but it was Lepore makes it sounds as if it were done as a matter of course.

Foxessa said...

Washington was always in search of substitutes for his crumbling teeth. He had many, many sets of false teeth, none of which were satisfactory, including the experiment with slaves' teeth.

That is a low point in his behaviors, right down there with starting what we call the French and Indian War, because he panicked and fired -- when strongly explained to before hand NOT TO DO THAT.

Love, c.