Theodore Roosevelt > New York > Page 121
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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919).  New York.  1906.

Page 121
 
responsible for the ferocious panic of fear, rage, and suspicion into which they were thrown by the discovery of another plot among the negroes in 1741. During this panic the citizens went almost mad with cruel terror, and did deeds which make a dark stain on the pages of New York's history,—deeds which almost parallel those done in the evil days of the Salem witchcraft persecutions, save that in the New York case there really was some ground for the anger and resentment of the persecutors. Exactly how much ground there was, however, it is impossible to say. There is no doubt that many of the slaves, especially among those of African birth, were always vaguely hoping for, and perhaps planning for, the destruction of their masters, and that some of the bolder and more brutal spirits did actually indulge in furtive incendiarism, outrage, and attempted murder; but there is no reason to suppose that the great mass of the blacks were ever engaged in the plot, or that there was ever any real danger of a general outbreak. Slave-owners, however, live always under the hair-hung sword; they know that they can take no risks, and that their very existence depends on the merciless suppression of every symptom of hostile discontent.
  During March, 1741, there broke out in New York so many fires in quick succession, that it seemed certain they were of incendiary origin; and

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