Mar 10, 2011 - Sale 2239

Sale 2239 - Lot 3

Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
DISCUSSING THE MARKET IN NEGROES (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) MORRIS, SAMUEL AND CADWALADER. Autograph Letter Signed, from Cadwalader Morris to Samuel Morris regarding the purchase and sale of slaves. Two pages, folio, with the original addressed "envelope" bearing sealing wax and postal marks; some parting at the creases where folded; a few stains and toning consistent with age. Kingston, Jamaica, 1773

Additional Details

Samuel Morris (1734-1812) and his brother Cadwalader ((1741-1795) were merchants from a prominent Philadelphia family. Both brothers served in the Revolution and Cadwalader was a founder and member of the Bank of America. This letter discusses the market regarding flour and corn, and soon gets around to the market in Negroes. Cadwalader states that the Spanish government is controlling the market in slaves by not allowing any but Spanish vessels into their ports. He refers to the "Contract" (assiento) with regard to the Spanish. "This matter (I believe) is not yet to be depended upon, at least so far as it relates to the mode of conducting the Contract, but it's certain there is a Contract. This matter will have a very sensible effect on this market. The number of Negroes are said to be [space] thousand, and three barrels of flour to each slave. I shall be able I hope to get more perfect information and will duly advise you and if anything clever can be [?] out and will inform you." He goes on to say that he hopes that ships from "your port" [Philadelphia?] will arrive within the month, and that "it would be a good thing if the Contract should take place by the time they arrive." The irony is that the Morris family were Quakers. In 1773, the Quakers issued an "Epistle" condemning all who participated in the trade to excommunication.