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A History Blog by W. E. Skidmore II

Travel Narratives: The Key to Information for Abolitionists



Newspaper: The Genius of Universal Emancipation (1821-1839)

Editor: Benjamin Lundy

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

DOC 1:

OMINOUS. (October 1824). Genius of Universal Emancipation (1821-1839). 10, http://search.proquest.com/docview/124022146?accountid=7064

“[Brazil] must follow the example of Mexico, and the new Republics of South America—In fine, they must abolish the system of slavery…The genius of South American emancipation, the great BOLIVAR, will be near.  His spirit will furnish a live coal for the altar of Brazilian freedom.”

DOC 2:

SOUTH AMERICAN STATES.  (Dec. 1824). Genius of Universal Emancipation (1821-1839). 12, http://search.proquest.com/docview/124022568?accountid=7064

“It is believed, that every district in South America has abolished slavery, with the exception of Brazil and Guianas…it is probable that Brazil, and I may add, the Guianas, will adopt the same course”

DOC 3:

“DR. JAMES SMITH’S SLAVES. (July 1825). Genius of Universal Emancipation (1821-1839). 07, http://search.proquest.com/docview/124022776?accountid=7064

“It is, indeed, asserted that the great BOLIVAR is at the bottom of the undertaking, and that he will march as army in Brazil, for the purposes of putting an end to royalty and slavery.”

DOC 4:

TRIUMPH OF PHILANTHROPY, OR POLITICAL REGENERATION OF AMERICA. 1825. Genius of Universal Emancipation (1821-1839). 05, http://search.proquest.com/docview/124022830?accountid=7064

“The vast, and almost boundless extent of country, comprising of North and South America, is, with the exception of Brazil and a part of the United States, shortly to be the exclusive abode of freemen.  The former contains within her own bosom the germs of liberty, which are fast hastening to maturity.  The Eagle has built her nest among the stately branches of her mountain oaks; the nurslings of freedom and equality are cherished there; and tender brood is watched by the genius of Bolivar.”


Newspaper: The Liberator (1831-1865)

Editor: William Lloyd Garrison

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

DOC 1:

Title: “From Dr. Walsh’s Views of Slavery in Brazil. Overwhelming Horror of Slavery”

Robert Walsh (Irish Writer)

Newspaper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 02-12-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 7; Page: 26

Abstract: Slave kill themselves.  Infanticide.  Freedom with death.  Incident involving S. Jose (slave killed himself).  Death equals emancipation.  Felice from Organ mountains, mulatto, murdered his father to attain freedom; was emancipated from his will.  Relation to United States, Great Britain, and Brazil

DOC 2:

Title: “Slavery Record. from Walsh’s Notes on Brazil”

Newspaper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 06-11-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 24; Page: 94;

Abstract: miscegenation; forcing light complexioned slaves to marry those who are blacker; “good fathers being alarmed at the prospect of keeping in a state of slavery, human faces as fair as their own”; Thomas Incle story revived; white European children enslaved in Brazil; selling of white mother and son; Father selling his own white child into slavery;

DOC 3:

Title: “Slavery Record. from Walsh’s Notes on Brazil

Newspaper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 06-18-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 25; Page: 98;

Abstract: Continuation from last week.  Talking about how slavery abroad has ruined a European man, who sold his family into slavery; “The deterioration of feelings in conspicuous in many ways among the Brazilians”; Brazilians are naturally nice people, but slavery has ruined them and allowed violence to proliferate in their society; walking through the street of Rio and seeing the whip; Violence towards slaves is necessary to break and control them; Nasty violence description from Walsh

DOC 4:

Title: “Slavery Record from Walsh’s Notes on Brazil”

Newspaper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 06-25-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 26; Page: 102;

Abstract: Talking about European slavery on Barbary Coast; relates it to the idea that white slaves on the Barbary Coast would never kill themselves, but in Brazil this was a daily occurrence; story about Negro women attempting suicide, and failed; talks about her Christianization, Valongo, and cruel treatment after recovery; Walsh in Bota Fogo; Infanticide in Minas Gerais

DOC 5:

Title: “Notices; Brazil; Constantinople”
Newspaper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 07-09-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 28; Page: 111; Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Abstract:  Work talks about how Walsh traveled all across Europe and to Brazil; possible connection to Barbary slavery; the article also states that Brazil should be a warning to the southern States, about what would come; also mention how free people of color were often looked upon as individuals who could contribute to society, another idea that the United States could adopt

DOC 6:

Title: “Slavery Record. Horrors of the Slave Trade”

Newspaper: Paper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 07-23-1831; Volume: I; Issue: 30; Page: 118; Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Author: Unknown

Abstract:  Another plug for reading Walsh’s Notices on Brazil.  Talks briefly about a copperplate that shows slave ships and close quarters.

Image of the copperplate

DOC 7:

Headline: Brazil; Article Type: News/Opinion

Paper: Liberator, published as The Liberator; Date: 01-07-1832; Volume: II; Issue: 1; Page: 4; Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Abstract: Article about the power struggle created by the Regency Era.  Interesting not on Haiti and the holiday compared to the situation in Brazil.  Wild beasts and what not.  Very dim view of total race war.  Interesting for historical context, and one of the few non-Walsh articles on Brazil.

Reviews of Walsh, Non-Liberator

DOC 1:

TITLE: ART. VI.–BRAZIL: 1.–Travels in Brazil, in the years 1817–1820, …

PERIODICAL: The American Quarterly Review (1827-1837);

DATE: Sep 1, 1831; 10, 19; American Periodicals pg. 126

DOCUMENT URL: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/docview/124455766?accountid=7064

DOC 2:

Title: Review 2 — No Title

Publication title: The Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art (1822-1842)

Volume 17  Issue 98

Publication date Aug 1830

Document URL


DOC 3:


Publication title: The Juvenile Miscellany (1826-1834)

Volume: 3 Issue: 1

Publication date: Sep/Oct 1832

Document URL: http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/docview/136926510?accountid=7064

* Walsh provides the basis for this article, see footnote.

DOC 4:

ART. VI.–BRAZIL. (1831, Sep 01). The American Quarterly Review (1827-1837), 10, 126. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/124455766?accountid=7064

Wonderful account on all the travel narratives written on Brazil from the beginning.  The article states that Walsh’s narrative is the best and most informative.

DOC 5:

Article 2 — no title. (1831, Aug 27). The Friend; a Religious and Literary Journal (1827-1906), 4, 368. URL http://search.proquest.com/docview/91313258?accountid=7064

Abstract: Article mostly on the horrors of the slave trade.  Walsh provides wonderful and truthful insight according to this account.  The most IMPORTANT aspect of this section is the end, where it talks about the intellectual capability of free blacks.  Possible angle to help people understand the ability of Africans to be citizens

* Connect to copperplate article

African Americans’ Ideas of Racial Equality/Harmony in Brazil (who also lean heavily on Walsh’s travel narrative)

DOC 1:

Title: Ohio Memorial – Extract No. 5.

Collection: African American Newspapers


Date: April 12, 1838

Location: New York, New York

Abstract: Talks about Dr. R. Walsh and Mr. Kester, an Englishman living in Brazil, who concurs with Dr. R. Walsh.  Mainly, slavery is bad in Brazil and an important system in that society

African Americans, however, see enfranchised Afro-Brazilians (non-slaves) and have hope

DOC 2:

Collection: African American Newspapers


Date: September 5, 1840


Location: New York, New York

Abstract: In Brazil there are more than two millions of slaves. Yet some of the highest offices of state are filled by black men. Some of the most distinguished officers in the Brazilian army are blacks and mulattoes. Colored lawyers and physicians are found in all parts of the country. Besides this, hundreds of the Roman Catholic clergy are black and colored men; these minister to congregations made up indiscriminately of blacks and whites.

DOC 3:

Collection: African American Newspapers


Date: December 4, 1841


Location: New York, New York

Abstract:  Do not fight the slave trade, instead focus on fighting slavery.  Opposition to immediate abolition in Brazil is to support the slave trade.  Wonderful approach and possible answer to one of my questions: why focus on the slave trade, and not the institution?


*Heart of evidence for my argument that the Anglo-American Anti-Slavery Network gathered their information on Brazilian slavery primarily from travel narratives.  This lengthy six-part publication series shows how important these narratives were to their understanding of the institution of Brazilian slavery.

This lengthy six-part (June 1867 to February 1868) review builds from James Redpath’s “Slavery and Slave Life in Brazil,” first published in the National Anti-Slavery Standard (Still need to find this)


“SLAVERY IN BRAZIL” (June, 1867). The Anti-Slavery Reporter, 15 (6), 121-124. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2998129?accountid=7064

Travel narratives examined:

Henry Koster, Travels in Brazil (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1816):

He was an English coffee planter who traveled to Brazil for health reasons.  Landed in Ceará where he created his own coffee plantation.  His travel narrative provides important details about his experience in Brazil with slavery.  Interesting reviews about a story dealing with a free mulatto who was attacked by one of the “Lords of the Plantation.”  The free mulatto killed his attacker and ran away.  On his deathbed, the white planter who first attacked the mulatto asked his family to not pursue his attacker.  Once the mulatto returned to the plantation, he was treated as if nothing happened. This review stated, “They manage these things differently down South.”

The Anti-Slavery Reporter also draws on an article published in the Boston Daily Advertiser (December 1, 1865, Volume 106; Issue: 131; page 2), which leans heavily on the travel narrative produced by William Dougal Christie, Notes on the Brazilian Questions (1865).

The article in the Boston Daily Advertiser surmised:

“There is no country where the white and black races mingle in which the field is so fair for the negro…In Brazil, there is no social distinction between the black race and the white, resulting in the general prescription of the African.”


SLAVERY IN BRAZIL. (July, 1867). The Anti-slavery reporter 16, (6) (07): 161-164, http://search.proquest.com/docview/2995000?accountid=7064.

Continuation of Koster’s travel narrative

SLAVERY AND SLAVE LIFE IN BRAZIL. (October 1867). The Anti-Slavery Reporter, 15(10), 220-222. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2979907?accountid=7064

Travel narratives examined:

Daniel P. Kidder, Sketches of Residence and Travels in Brazil (1845)

Maria Graham, Journal of Voyage to Brazil, and Residence There (1824)

George Gardner F.L.S., Travels in the Interior of Brazil (1846)


SLAVERY AND SLAVE-LIFE IN BRAZIL. (1867). The Anti-Slavery Reporter, 15(11), 257-261. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/2993672?accountid=7064



SLAVERY AND SLAVE-LIFE IN BRAZIL. (Jan. 1868). The Anti-slavery reporter 16, (1) (01): 3-4, http://search.proquest.com/docview/2980164?accountid=7064

Travel narratives examined:

Rev. James C. Fletcher and Rev. D.P. Kidder, D.D., Brazil and the Brazilians: Portrayed in Historical and Descriptive Sketches (1866)


SLAVERY AND SLAVE-LIFE IN BRAZIL. (November, 1867). The Anti-slavery reporter 15, (11) (11): 257-261, http://search.proquest.com/docview/2993672?accountid=7064

Several Narratives here (still working through them)


SLAVERY AND SLAVE LIFE IN BRAZIL. (February, 1868). The Anti-slavery reporter 16, (2) (02): 28-30, http://search.proquest.com/docview/3054768?accountid=7064

Travel narratives examined:

W.D. Christie, Notes on the Brazilian Questions (1865)

*Also an editorial note from Professor Ed. Laboulaye, American Professor (also repeated in Journal des Debats, July 1865)

*Possible Additions of General Anti-Slavery Conventions of 1843 (London) and 1867 (Paris)—Travel narratives play an important role.

Anti-Slavery Reporter_Travel Narratives

(Above is the PDF for the entire six-part series.  Any ideas or commentary would be appreciated)


*Section on American slaveholders’ interest in Brazil.  I have identified the major newspaper and periodical, along with the travel narratives they adopted (which present a rosier picture of slavery in Brazil)

*Most information deals with the 1860s and 1870s

Main newspaper: New Orleans Times

Main periodical: DeBow’s Review

Travel Narratives used in both publications:

Lansford Warren Hastings, The Emigrant’s Guide to Brazil (1867) [Hard to find copy of this book online, if anyone can help that would be great!]

Daniel Kidder’s Sketches of Residence and Travel in Brazil (1845)

Auburn University Digital Archive on the Confederados


Somehow I will pull this all together to make sense.  Hopefully…

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