This is a reproduction of the translation of the text of the article that appeared in German in The Bellville Wochenblatt. William Trenckmann, who edited the original, wrote in his introduction: For a number of years the Wochenblattmann has been concerned with the idea of publishing a special edition dedicated to the County of Austin, in Texas. Certain hindrances such as lack of time and of the article which is quite as essential to pay for printing jobs as it is to waging a war-have thus far prevented its publication. But we are convinced that this supplement, which we now send forth into the world, will be welcomed by all those who live in the county, even if much that we present here in word and picture is already familiar to them through hearsay or through actual personal experience. Many of our loyal readers who have set up their homes elsewhere will be happy to have more information about that section of the earth where Stephen F. Austin made his first settlement and where once stood the first capital of Texas. It was also the place where the earliest German pioneers in this state erected their first cabins and where, since that time, so many men and women of German blood have found homes and have helped to transform the wilderness into a fruitful garden. We have spared no effort or expense to make this booklet as rich in content and interest as possible, and we here with express our right hearty thanks to all those persons who have ably assisted us. We are fully aware that this historical sketch and topographical description of the county which, like our state capital, took its name from the Founding Impresario, cannot lay claim to completeness. Months and years of preparation and research would have been required to make it so. But we have striven within this limited frame to portray the material which is most important and worth recalling, and we believe that we have succeeded reasonably well. We hope, as they read this booklet and study the features of the aged men and women who created a new home for German culture and language on foreign soil, that our readers may gratefully remember what we their sons and grandsons owe to the German pioneers of Texas. If this aim is achieved, then the primary purpose of the little book has been accomplished.
"25,000 slaves were brought into Cuba every year - with the wrongful compliance of, and personal profit by, Spanish officials." - Dr. Richard Madden "Now, the unfortunate Africans whose case is the subject of the present representation, have been thrown by accidental circumstances into the hands of the authorities of the United States Government whether these persons shall recover the freedom to which they are entitled, or whether they shall be reduced to slavery, in violation of known laws and contracts publicly passed, prohibiting the continuance of the African slave-trade by Spanish subjects." - Henry Stephen Fox, British diplomat By the early 19th century, several European nations had banned slavery, but while the United States had banned the international slave trade, slavery was still legal in the country itself. As a result, there was still a strong financial motive for merchants and slave traders to attempt to bring slaves to the Western hemisphere, and a lot of profits to be gained from successfully sneaking slaves into the American South and the Caribbean by way of locations like Havana, Cuba. At the same time, the cruelties of the slave trade often led to desperate attempts by slaves or would-be slaves to avoid the horrific fate that they were either experiencing or about to face. In 1831, Nat Turner's revolt shocked the South and scared plantation owners across the country, while also bringing the issue of slavery to the forefront of the national debate. But just years after Turner's rebellion was quickly put down, the United States was embroiled in another similar controversy as a result of the successful insurrection aboard the Amistad, a Spanish schooner that was carrying Africans taken from modern day Sierra Leone and brought across the Atlantic to Cuba. In 1839, the Amistad was loaded in Havana with Africans who had been brought across the ocean to be made slaves, but after the ship left Havana for another location on Cuba, the Africans escaped their shackles, killed the captain, and took over the ship. When they demanded to be taken back to Africa, the ship's crew instead sailed north, and the ship was ultimately captured off the coast of Long Island in New York by the USS Washington. All of this resulted in one of the most famous maritime cases in history, and one that affected not just the international slave trade ban but also how jurisdiction over such a case was determined. While the British were interested in enforcing the ban on the slave trade, Spain wanted to protect its own rights by asserting that their property (crew and ship) could not be subjected to American jurisdiction, and that since slavery was legal in Cuba, a foreign country had no right to determine the legal status of the Africans aboard the Amistad. On top of that, both the Spanish slave traders intending to sail the ship around Cuba and the American captain who seized the Amistad claimed ownership of the Africans. The legal case proceeded all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, which eventually affirmed a lower court ruling that allowed the Africans to be returned home as free men, but not before the British and Spanish used diplomatic and political leverage to try to influence the outcome. Ultimately, the rebellion on the Amistad and the case that followed became a watershed moment in the debate over slavery and abolition in America about 20 years before the Civil War.
The events, more than half of which are newly narrated in this 'History, ' are recited from recollection. It is not pretended that all the conversations took place with the brevity with which they are given here. In the lapse of eight years there is much which I must have forgotten; but what I have told I distinctly remember, and the actors living will not, I think, contradict it. As, by a creditable improvement in English law, the recommencement of prosecutions for (ir)religious opinion can originate with the Attorney-General alone, I have ventured to hope that, if this narrative should fall into the hands of that officer for the time being, it may present some reasons to him why this 'Last Trial by Jury for Atheism' should be the last. There are some passages in these Fragments over which some will be sad with me. Others will assume them to be written for effect; for such, let me say, they were not written at all. These pages will leave me for the press with much more pleasure if I can believe that no one will connect them with me, but read them as a posthumous record of bygone events. At times I thought I would omit all incidents of feeling; but I felt, that if I did so the narrative would not represent the whole (personal) truth of these proceedings-and, as they stand, they may serve to suggest to some a doubt of the correctness of the oft-repeated dictum of the Rev. Robert Hall, that 'Atheism is a bloody and a ferocious system, which finds nothing above us to excite awe, nor around us to awaken tenderness.' Whether these are sufficient reasons for the purpose, I know not; but this I know-they are the true ones. As I very much dislike being an object of pity, those will much mistake me who suppose that this narrative has been written to excite it. In my estimation, imprisonment was a matter of conscience. I neither provoked prosecution nor shrank from it; and I am now as far from desiring it as I trust I ever shall be from fearing it. I do not pretend to despise public approval, but I think it should be regarded as a contingent reward, not as the sole motive of action; for he who only works while the public (always fickle in memory) care to remember him, is animated by a very precarious patriotism.
Half a century after the collapse of the Nazi regime and the Third Reich, scholars from a range of fields continue to examine the causes of Nazi Germany. An increasing number of young Americans are attempting to understand the circumstances that led to the rise of the Nazi party and the subsequent Holocaust, as well as the implication such events may have for today as the world faces a resurgence of neo-Nazism, ethnic warfare, and genocide.
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