Frederick Douglass Money Quote saying in his 4th of July speech before the Rochester ladies antislavery society in 1852 that price for men was high then, making slave trade prosperous. Frederick Douglass said:
“Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger” — Frederick Douglass
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In this quote, Frederick Douglass is vividly describing the horrors of the slave trade from his perspective. He speaks of hearing the “doleful wail” or cries of anguish from enslaved people being forcefully taken away in chains and transported to “slave-markets”.
There, human beings would be treated as commodities and “sold like horses, sheep, and swine” to whoever offered the highest price through an auction. Douglass emphasizes how deeply traumatic this was, as the “tenderest ties” or closest familial bonds were “ruthlessly broken” without regard for the people involved.
All of this was done to satisfy the “lust, caprice and rapacity” or greedy, cruel and exploitative desires of those buying and profiting off the slave trade. Douglass expresses his deep personal revulsion and sickness at witnessing the inhumane system of people being reduced to property and sold without mercy for the benefit of slave traders.