Friday, March 7, 2008

Molasses To Rum

from 1776, song by Edward Rutledge:

Molasses to rum to slaves, oh what a beautiful waltz
You dance with us, we dance with you
Molasses and rum and slaves
Who sails the ships out of Boston
Ladened with bibles and rum?
Who drinks a toast to the Ivory Coast?
Hail Africa, the slavers have come
New England with bibles and rum
And its off with the rum and the bibles
Take on the slaves, clink, clink
Hail and farewell to the smell
Of the African coast
Molasses to rum to slaves
'Tisn't morals, 'tis money that saves
Shall we dance to the sound of the profitable pound
In molasses and rum and slaves
Who sails the ships out of Guinea
Ladened with bibles and slaves?
'Tis Boston can coast to the West Indies coast
Jamaica, we brung what ye craves
Antigua, Barbados, we brung bibles and slaves!
Molasses to rum to slaves
Who sail the ships back to Boston
Ladened with gold, see it gleam
Whose fortunes are made in the triangle trade
Hail slavery, the New England dream!
Mr. Adams, I give you a toast:
Hail Boston! Hail Charleston!
Who stinketh the most?

The background
Hancock is about to call for a vote on the Declaration, when Rutledge rises to object to Jefferson's denunciation of slavery in his list of redresses. Rutledge defends slavery as a way of life in South Carolina, and reminds Jefferson that he, too, is a slaveholder. Jefferson announces that he has decided to free his slaves, and Rutledge accuses the northern colonies of hypocrisy: the northern shippers may not own slaves, but they get rich off of the trade of slaves. He reminds them that the process of Molasses to Rum to slaves is ensuring prosperity for the North. The delegations of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia angrily leave the chamber, mindful of the unanimity required to pass the resolution. The resolve of the remaining delegates is broken, and they also leave.


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