Mar 24, 2022 - Sale 2598

Sale 2598 - Lot 3

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(SLAVERY & ABOLITION.) Case of the Vigilante, a Ship Employed in the Slave-Trade; with Some Reflections on that Traffic. Folding plate. 13 pages. 8vo, modern paper-backed boards; minor toning to text leaves, upper two-thirds of plate in tasteful facsimile, with staining and tape repairs at folds to the surviving bottom third. London: Harvey, Darton, & Co., 1823

Additional Details

The capture by the British Navy of the notorious French slave ship Vigilante was a reminder that the transatlantic slave trade still flourished, despite the Act of 1807. The Vigilante was found at the mouth of the river Bonny on the coast of West Africa, with 345 enslaved people aboard, in the company of several other slave ships. During the ensuing gun battle, some of the human cargo took the opportunity to jump overboard but were "devoured by the sharks." The crew of one of the defeated Spanish slave ships tried to detonate the ship's gunpowder as they departed, which would have killed all of the newly freed passengers. A graphic and disturbing account from the trans-Atlantic slave trade's long illicit period.

The plate is similar but distinct from the often-circulated "Plan of an African Ship's Lower Deck" from the slave ship Brookes. It shows a detailed floor plan for the Vigilante, including two levels of tightly packed human cargo, with side views to show how it was barely high enough to sit. Vignettes show the designs for shackles used on the voyage. It was engraved by Hawksworth after a design by Croad.

Afro-Americana 2109; Sabin 99603; not in the Blockson Collection.