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John Hawkins Simpson
Horrors of the Virginian Slave Trade and of the Slave-Rearing Plantations. The True Story of Dinah, an Escaped Virginian Slave, Now in London, on Whose Body Are Eleven Scars Left by Tortures Which Were Inflicted by Her Master, Her Own Father. Together with Extracts from the Laws of Virginia, Showing That Against These Barbarities the Law Gives Not the Smallest Protection to the Slave, But the Reverse
London: A.W. Bennett, 1863.


In the preface to Horrors of the Virginian Slave Trade and of the Slave-Rearing Plantations, written in England during the Civil War, John Hawkins Simpson establishes his opposition to the slave trade, which he believes is unconstitutional. Following a brief summary of Virginia's slave trade and laws, Simpson relates the story of Dinah, who was a slave on a Virginia plantation. Dinah's mother died when she was very young, and the author suggests that the plantation's master was Dinah's father. Simpson describes many specific instances of cruelty Dinah, her husband, children, and friends endured during her years in slavery. Over twenty years after her first attempt to escape failed, Dinah succeeded. She found sympathetic individuals who helped her travel to the northern states and eventually to London. Throughout the work, Simpson discusses applicable Virginia laws that were harsh on slaves but lenient on whites. He then offers his own observations on slavery, and concludes with two letters by Englishmen discussing the issue of states' rights in America.

Monique Prince

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