The number of slaves in the South always exceeded those in the North because the South’s plantation economy (based on rice, tobaccco, cotton, sugar, etc.) employed a large labor force. But in the North, while slaves were fewer, at one time they were omnipresent; in towns and seaports, farms and mansions. Some came from the Spanish Indies, some were captured Native Americans, but most came from Africa.
A New England visitor in 1687, astonished at the number of blacks he saw, said, “There is not a house in Boston, however small may be its name, that has not one or two,” writes David Freeman Hawke in “Everyday Life in Early America.”