Mar 31, 2016 - Sale 2408

Sale 2408 - Lot 21

Price Realized: $ 5,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
VERY RARE & IMPORTANT--INSURANCE OF A SLAVE SHIP (SLAVERY AND ABOLITION.) SLAVE SHIP OWNERS. Autograph Letter from a Mr. L. Atring [?] to William Forsyth regarding $15,000 insurance "against all risk" for the slave-ship "Antonia." Single large folio sheet, folded to form four 4to pages, written on two sides and addressed on a third; paper lightly and evenly toned. Matanzas (Cuba), 21 May, 1818

Additional Details

an exceptionally detailed letter, discussing a known slave ship, the antonia ["alias la africana"] as cited in journals of the house of commons for 1821. The owner of the slave ship, writing from Matanzas province in Cuba, asks Mr. Forsyth in Baltimore to "make some insurance for me on my schooner the Antonia, Antonio Echevarria, master, now on a voyage to the Coast of Africa for cargo of slaves, south of the Equator, agreeable to a royal order from the King of Spain. This vessel is a first rate pilot boat built schooner, about one hundred thirty American tons . . . built by Noah Brown of New York, launched in February 1817 . . . Has made two voyages to the Coast of Africa and now on a third . . . request you will write to your friend in Baltimore to make some insurance for me, say fifteen thousand dollars for vessel and cargo from this port (Matanzas) to a port or ports on the Coast of Africa, south of the Equator and back to this place with a cargo of slaves. The Antonia is provided with a Royal passport from the King of Spain. . ." The passport would be accompanied by the Spanish flag; both were to avoid being boarded by the British or American revenue cutters, patrolling the Coast of Africa following the 1807 ban on taking of slaves from Africa. He continues "The whole of the expedition cost a little over twenty-eight thousand dollars. The vessel is armed with on eighteen pound gunnade (a small cannon) on a pivot, and a good proportion of small arms and manned by nineteen persons, all told, and is calculated to make an excellent defense from attack of boats" (presumably native boats). It is hard to imagine the Antonia firing on a British patrol boat.