How to buy the book

You can order at History Press as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other on-line retailers. I will send you a signed copy for $23, a little extra to cover shipping. I will send you both Slave Labor in the Capital and Through a Fiery Trial for $40. Send a check to me at PO Box 63, Wellesley Island, NY 13640-0063.

My lectures at Sotterley Plantation in St. Mary's County, Maryland, on September 23, 2015, and the DAR Library on December 5 are now blog posts below listed under book talks. The talk I gave
at the Politics and Prose Bookstore on February 28, 2015, along with Heather Butts, author African American Medicine in Washington, was taped by the bookstore. Take a listen.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ethnic rivalries

"As the sawyers worked in the sawpit, twenty-one carpenters prepared the roof for rafters, working under the supervision of Redmond Purcell, who came from Ireland with Hoban. He tried to prove to the commissioners that the Englishman Hadfield was incompetent, which would have left Hoban the only man in town qualified to supervise construction at the Capitol."

Quote from Slave Labor in the Capitol, page106

That there were ethnic rivalries among the workers does not necessarily tell us anything about race relations. But there are more letters alluding to the ethnic rivalries than there are letters even mentioning the slave workers. A man cannot do anything about his ethnicity just as he can't change his race. I suggest that since ethnic tensions boiled over and there is no evidence that racial tensions did, then the latter were not a problem.

Redmond Purcell wrote the letter below at the peak of his feud with Hadfield and in it he tried to regain favor with the commissioners by showing that Scots, Americans and even a Englishman supported him, as well as Irish. I share it because it shows that my discussion is not based on my analysis of the workers ethnic background. It shows that everyone then was aware of the ethnic backgrounds of the workers.

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