[Washington, DC]: U.S. House of Representative, May 10, 1860. Removed. 36th Congress, 1st Session. House of Representatives. Report No. 508. “Slavery in the Territory of New Mexico. [To accompany Bill H. R. No. 64.] May 10, 1860 – Ordered to be printed. Mr. Bingham, from the Committee on the Judiciary, made the following report. 39 pages. Removed from a bound volume so a little rough on the left edge; otherwise in nice shape.
This pamphlet contains both the majority and minority reports regarding “A bill to repeal all acts of the legislature of New Mexico authorizing slavery or involuntary servitude, except for punishment for crime.”
As African-American slavery was rarely found in New Mexico, this pamphlet addresses slavery and involuntary servitude that first been imposed on Native Americans by Spanish colonists and their descendants.. Very good. Item #009836
Inter-tribal slavery had been practiced in the region—usually by the Comanche, Apache, and Navajo—long before the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500s. However, when Franciscan missionaries arrived, they were directed by the Catholic Church and the Spanish government to purchase and free tribal slaves when they found them. Although once purchased, thesegenízaros were officially considered to have been ‘freed,’ they then entered indentured servitude to ‘pay off’ the cost of their purchase. The missions retained these workers, and others were resold to become workers for Spanish settlers. Unfortunately, this practice encouraged more slave-taking, and soon the capturing tribes began conducting slave fairs to provide a direct source of indentured labor for the Spanish settlers.
Since genízaros could be held until their masters determined they had worked off what they owed, this servitude often lasted for many years and sometimes was even passed on to their children. By the 1800s, genízaros and their descendants made up one-third of the region’s population.
After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, this practice was officially forbidden, however it, especially the sale of kidnapped and captured children, continued on unabated.
Following the Mexican-American War, when control of the region passed to the United States, slavery in New Mexico became a major political issue. While the Democrats wanted to re-legalize slavery and indentured servitude, the Whigs wanted to keep and enforce Mexico’s abolition. After the “Compromise of 1850” allowed the territory’s citizens to vote on the issue, the pro-slavery faction easily won. Unhappy with the result, abolitionists began to pressure the federal government to prohibit its practice.
This pamphlet describes the state of Native American slavery in New Mexico in 1860, primarily from the viewpoint of the Congressmen who opposed it. Although in 1862, Congress passed a law prohibiting slavery in the territory, it was, like the Mexican law before it, ignored, and the federal government was too occupied by the Civil War to address violations. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Peonage Act of 1867, which specifically banned the practice, that New Mexican-style slavery and servitude ended.
(For more information see Avery’s University of Montana Master’s thesis Into the Den of Evils: The Genízaros in Colonial New Mexico available online, and Bailey’s Indian Slave Trade in the Southwest.)
Rather scarce. At the time of listing, one other example is for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub identifies no other examples as having been sold at auction, and OCLC reports that about 15 can be found at institutions..