Из книги Шона Стендфилда "Slavery and Abolition: the Plymouth Connection"
Hawkins of Plymouth
The history of the European slave trade, taking Africans from the Gold and Guinea coasts and transporting them across the Atlantic to the New World, originated in the late fifteenth century when Portuguese traders started supplying plantations in their colonies in Brazil. By the mid-sixteenth century, the Portuguese were pushed to meet demand: they had more of their own Brazilian plantations, whilst they also shipped slaves to Hispaniola after the Spanish colonists there had decimated their indigenous Carib labour force.
The first Englishman recorded to have taken slaves from Africa was John Lok, a London trader who, in 1555, brought to England five slaves from Guinea. A second London trader taking slaves at that time was William Towerson whose fleet sailed into Plymouth following his 1556 voyage to Africa and from Plymouth on his 1557 voyage.[i]
Despite the exploits of Lok and Towerson, John Hawkins of Plymouth is widely acknowledged to be the pioneer of the English slave trade. He made three slavery voyages in the 1560s, preparing the way, maybe unwittingly, for the slave trade triangle that developed between England, Africa and the New World. The triangular trade worked to maximise profits. English goods were traded in Africa, slaves were carried on the infamous middle passage from there across the Atlantic, and goods produced in the New World were transported back to England.
John Hawkins was born in 1532 into a prominent and wealthy Plymouth family of ship owners, seafarers and merchants. Hawkins’ father, William, had himself traded, separately, in Guinea and Brazil in 1530 and 1532. The young Hawkins, raised in the family’s house in Kinterbury Street above Sutton harbour, went to sea at an early age. During the late 1550s, Hawkins, already a Freeman of Plymouth, made several voyages to the Canaries, trading mainly textiles for sugar, although there are stories too of involvement in piracy.[ii]
By 1561 Hawkins was very aware of the profits that could be made from the slave trade. That year he struck an agreement with Pedro de Ponte of the powerful Canaries merchant family. de Ponte agreed to supply Hawkins with food and water, warehouses and information about the trade, and pilots to get him to the Guinea coast and thence to the West Indies.
Hawkins’ involvement in the slave trade from the outset was driven by opportunism, to exploit a gap in an already commercial market. He would not have considered the slave trade to be wrong, immoral or unethical. In England during the sixteenth century, human suffering was not a concern in the sense that executions were normal, as was torture, imprisonment in conditions totally alien to modern standards, shackling and even slavery, particularly of people taken from Ireland. Contemporary reports told tales of different African societies being at war with each other, of slavery amongst those groups, and of cannibalism. To Hawkins, equating African slavery with inhumanity was not an issue; it was merely a moneymaking venture.
Hawkins’ first slavery voyage
Members of a London syndicate, including Benjamin Gonson (Hawkins’ father-in-law and Treasurer of the Admiralty), merchants and civic leaders Sir Thomas Lodge, Sir Lionel Ducket and Sir William Winter, backed Hawkins’ first Slavery voyage. In October 1562, Hawkins, with about 100 men, left Plymouth on board three ships: the Solomon (120 tons), the Swallow (100 tons) and the Jonas (40 tons). Thomas Hampton of Plymouth was second in command.
After stopping off at Tenerife in the Canaries, they sailed to Sierra Leone on the Guinea coast where they took on board a cargo that included about 300 slaves “besides other merchandises which that countrey yeeldeth”,[iii] some traded, some purchased and some captured. In Hispaniola, despite that by Asiento[iv] the Spanish had granted slave-trading agreements solely to the Portuguese, the Africans were traded for hides, ginger, sugar and pearls. Hawkins returned to Plymouth in September 1563.
Hawkins’ second slavery voyage
On 18 October 1564 Hawkins again left Plymouth for Guinea and the West Indies, on his second, slave trade voyage. Following the success of his first mission, this time one of his benefactors was Queen Elizabeth herself. His ships were the Jesus of Lubeck (700 tons), again the Solomon, the Tiger (50 tons) and the Swallow (30 tons; not the same ship that sailed previously).
In Africa, Hawkins travelled along the coast and up rivers. On occasion Africans had fled their villages having been pre-warned of the slaver’s arrival, or fought against Hawkins and his men. Hawkins left Africa with between 400 and 500 slaves: a number were captured; some were traded from African slave owners; yet more were traded or pirated from Portuguese slavers.
The slaves were disposed of in colonies along the Spanish Main, again despite the Asiento agreement with the Portuguese. Hawkins then sailed up the Florida coast, before crossing the Atlantic with a cargo that included precious metals, pearls and other jewels, arriving at Padstow on 20 October 1565.
John Sparke of Plymouth, who sailed with Hawkins, wrote an account of the second slavery voyage.[v] Sparke made reference, probably for the first time in English, to potatoes and tobacco, both seen in the West Indies. John Sparke was appointed Mayor of Plymouth in 1583 and again in 1591.
Hawkins was granted a coat of arms in recognition of the success of this second voyage, the crest of which was the torso of an African slave bound with a rope.
[i] Hakluyt, Richard (1904) The Principle Navigations, Voyages, Traffiques and Discoveries of the English Nation, vol. 6; Glasgow, James MacLehose and Sons.
[ii] Williamson, James A (1949) Hawkins of Plymouth; London, Adam And Charles Black.
[iii] Hakluyt, vol. 10, p. 8.
[iv] In The New Encyclopædia Britannica, 15th ed. 1990, vol. 1; London, Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. p. 633: ‘Asiento de negros (Spanish: “Negroes’ Contract”), between the early 16th and the mid-18th century, an agreement between the Spanish crown and a private person or another sovereign power by which the latter was granted a monopoly in supplying African slaves for the Spanish colonies in the Americas’.
[v] Hakluyt, vol. 10, pp. 9 to 63.
[vi] Plymouth City Council: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/mayors1500-1600