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Triumvirate of Rationalism: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and George Orwell by Christopher Hitchens

Triumvirate of Rationalism: Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and George Orwell by Christopher Hitchens

Author:Christopher Hitchens [Hitchens, Christopher]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: UNKNOWN
Published: 2016-10-08T04:00:00+00:00


There is a ghastly little sample of verse, very near the end of his life. I think it's in verse. It's a sort of very sickly thing about his dead children being angels or...I can't even bear to think about it actually. It's written to try and cheer up his younger daughter about her dead sisters. It's the product of a weak moment. Sorry I can't be of any more help.

Q: Just curious about what happened to those 1.5 million people that ended up in North Africa. Did they blend in with the population, are some of them still enslaved? We know what happened to the blacks here in this country, what happened to whites that ended up there?

A: There are a number of memoirs of them, because some escaped. Unlike those Africans who were unlucky enough to be taken into the middle passage and then to America -- dying in huge numbers on the way and never seeing Africa again -- these people could be ransomed.

In a town like this at about that time, there would have been at every Sunday service a short talk about what was happening and a request for money to try and redeem or ransom people. It was partly a racket, a protection racket as well. You could pay not to be enslaved, and if you were, you could pay to be ransomed.

Some of them were ransomed and we have extraordinary memoirs of them. Off the top of my head, I should be able to recommend at least one book. There's a book called Captives by a very good English historian called Linda Colley, who's greatly enhanced on knowledge of this period. I think that gives the best account.

Many of them were put to work in the desert and elsewhere and died as slaves, were worked to death. Many died in jail where they were held as possible objects of bargaining and ransom. They were kept in a cellar until someone would raise the money for them. Often they died from the maltreatment there.

Some of them, the young ones, were sold into prostitution, child brothels in the ports along the North Africa coast. That's the story. It's rather I'm afraid as you would expect. There are, I've noticed, quite a lot of very light-skinned people especially in Morocco. It's conceivable that there's a certain amount of that, because there would have been no prohibition of any kind on intermarriage.

Not that there really was in America either. There was at least no prohibition on inter...I won't use the word "racial" because I don't believe our species is subdivided into race, but you know what I mean. Black-white sex was not illegal in anyway, at least not in one direction, if you follow me.

Don't have to draw you a picture, there may have been some of that, too. With many we just don't know, they vanished. They vanished from history, too, until recently.

Q: None are enslaved today, is that so?

A: No. There is still slavery in North Africa as before.



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