Profit In Greed
Though the Vagrancy Act was passed in 1597, the first transportation of “felons”, (in actuality it was children from the ages of eight to sixteen) did not occur until 1619 under the reign of James 1st. Yet after the first trip was complete, the system gained rapidly in sophistication. The trade wind routes were utilized to gain the riches in the vast profits to be made in tobacco and rum; the return trip thus made the business of shipping convicts all that more lucrative.
Under James, the Crown relied on privately owned shipping merchants to prevent expenses to its own coffers. The London (Virginia) Company realized the potential of the simple expedient of bidding one or two pounds per convict in the prisons and then tripling the original bidding price in Virginia and elsewhere. A new resource was in the making and by the use of their own captains and ships, less cost and more profits were created. The inception of the notorious “triangle trade” was thus established between English merchants profiting from the white slave trade to the colonies long before Africa became part of the route.
The figure below shows the cross section of an early 17th century English merchant ship. The transported thieves, rogues and vagabonds were chained eight together in the hold.
History is full of romantic myths overshadowing and often taking precedence over truth. . Much becomes lost by glossing over the facts, even now slavery’s foulness has come to light in the vast extension of modern day slave trafficking.[ii]
[i]Model of an Early 17c Cross Section of Merchant ship, Musphot, I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. This image is of a work of art which is permanently on display in a public place in the UK, namely Dorset County Museum, Dorchester, Dorset. Under UK law, Freedom of panorama applies to works of artistic craftsmanship permanently located in a public place (which, by statute, includes places to which the public have access). This image accordingly does not infringe any copyright of the model's creator. See Section 62 of the Copyright, Designs and patents Act 1988.
[ii]“This Map Shows Where the World’s 30 Million slaves in the world today - Washington Post , October 13, 2013. https://
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/17/. This-map-shows-where-the-world’s-30-million-slaves-live-there are-6000-in-the-us. Accessed August 18, 2015