1. Home
  2. >
  3. Collections
  4. >
  5. Slave Trade Letters
  6. >
  7. Mid-voyage letter and contract...

Mid-voyage letter and contract for Capt. Peter Gwinn

Click any image to enlarge it.

Mid-voyage letter and Contract for Captain peter Gwinn, P 1Capt Peter Gwinn

Boston March 5th – 1764 –


I wrote you some Time ago by Capt Pink-ham. This to acquaint you that the Small Pox is in this Town & like to Spread so that it will not do to come here with your Slaves by any means—

This encloses a Copy of a Contract I have made here with Mr. Ougston who came here from New York to contract for a number of Slaves to be delivered at the Havanna where You are to proceed from the Coast & deliver your Slaves to the Contractors there Mr. Thomas Ougston. Cornelius Coppinger Jehn Erdley Wilmot & William Fogo. for which they are to pay you for each Slave in mili’d Dollars afFour shillings & six pence each as follows: Viz + For every Slave, male or female, from four feet four inches & up wards Twenty Sixx pounds ten shillg together Sty. Boys & Girls under four feet four Inches down to four foot Twenty One Pounds Sterling & from three feet Nine Inches to four feet Seaventeen Pounds Sterling, the mili’d Dollars paid you in twenty one days after delivery — You have Liberty to buy Sugar or Hides if you find you can do it to advantage, but not to medle with any thing else upon Your Periel. if You can buy the best of White Sugar in Chests at five Dollars an English Hundred or under; You may do it & dry’d Hides at or under a Dollar a ps each Hide Weighing Twentry five pounds at least,’ You may do it & Load your VeSsell & bring the rest home in mili’d Dollars; but if Sugars & Hides cant be bought at the price I Limitted than bring Home nothing but Your Cash. The Sugars must be Entred here & pay five shillings Sterling PCH Duty, if you bring any.

Mid-voyage letter and Contract for Captain peter Gwinn, P 2Bring no other thing from there upon any Considera-tion & besure keep strickt up to the agreement, otherways Your VeSsell will be seized.

I have taken good Security here from Mr Ougston for performing his Contract So that you must not brake through the agreement nor suffer Your Mate or any of your People to do it. Whatever You do either buying or selling & in every other things you do advise with the Gentm Mr. Thomas Ougston. Cornelius Coppinger John Erdley Wilmont & William Fogo. to whom you deliver your Slaves & let them purchase your Sugar & Hides if you buy any – Your own & Privelidge Slaves I have not agreed for. So that you’l have the advantage of making the most off them Yourself, but be sure give the prefference of your own & privelidge Slaves to the Contractors, the giving You as much as another – This Mony I have agreed for each Slave is to be paid you without any deduction of Commissions or any Duty or charge whatsoever – If you have any very Old Gray Super anuated Men or Woman keep them close shaved Head & Face every day & well Oiled up & make all your slaves look as Slick & well as poSsible before they go on Shore. beSure brake no Acts of Trade there upon any account. & keep strictly up to the Contract & then should any things happen (which I cant think will) but it it should I have taken Such Security as to be sure of my Mony & secured yours. I have enclosed a Copy of the Contract-

You’l obsarve b you have Liberty to sell your VeSsell at the Havanna if any offer. In case you can get Four Hundred Pounds Sterling for her or more. you may dispose of her but then you must be sure before you sell her that you See an opportunity to get away with you Mony & people otherways it will not do to Sell on and Terms, perhaps You may have an opportunity if you Sell your VeSsell at the Havanna to get home in Some VeSsell That

Mid-voyage letter and Contract for Captain peter Gwinn, P 3– That may be there bound to New York or Philadelphia or Some where upon the Continant- in that case you may sell the Briggt for something leSs than Four Hundred Pounds if you think best. Pay off all your People as Soon as you can – If you meet with any English Man of Wan- you may tell them you are bound to Jamaica –

Inclos’d is a letter from me to Mr. Ougston & his Partners at the Havanna, which you must deliver them as Soon as you arrive. When you arrive off the Havana make a Signal with an Ensigne in your Shrouds & than a Pilot will come off & cany you In. If you meet with the gordalacost as without doubt you will before you get in show them Your Letter from Mr Ougston to his Partners MeSsrs Cornelius Coppinger John Erdley Wilmont & William Fogo. at the Havanna & wait upon them as Soon as You can get a Shore & they will protect You

If you have any returned Goods from the Coast put them into theit Hands & they will put them into the King’s Store till you come away. do nothing either buying or selling or in any other way but what you advice with them about, for their Laws are very severe in every respect & should any thing happen to you & you have broke none of their Laws. in that Case I have good Security for my VeSsell & Cargo, the’ I dont apprehend the least Resque as this Contract for Negroes is for the Kings Use. Capt Spear, the Baner of this, is under the Same Contract & is bound to the Coast & from thence to the Havanna, as is many other VeSsells from Newport. Write by all opportunitys & mind as I said before to keep your Slaves in good Order & before you go into the Havanna to Shave all clean & Oil and wash them up that they may Shon to the best advantage, make dispatch & should

Mid-voyage letter and Contract for Captain peter Gwinn, P 4This Scheam turn out well. You shall have the new Ship the next Trip the same way. – As You’l receive a large Sum of Cash neaver Leave it yourself. unleSs you Leave it in charge of your Mate by any means & not take it on board till You are all ready for Sailing –

I wish You SucceSs & am

Your Friend & Owner

Timothy Fitch

Prise of the Slaves

from 4 foot 4 inches & upwards L26.10 Starg

Under 4 Foot 4 inches L21.11 Stg

under 4 foot 4 foot to 3 foot 9 inches LI 8 Stg.

to paid by MeSs: ThomsOugston, Cornelius Coppinger. John Erdley Wilmont + William Fogo all of the Havanah merchts. in Mili’d Dollars at 4/6 ape

Read my Letters & the Contract & me Letter to the Gentlemen at the Havanah to whom you are Consignd over Often till you understand it thoroughly you are to Cany no Pasingers to the Havanah from the Cost No Dor Nothing in any Shape but what you advise with the Gentim you are consigned to

Tim Fitch letter
to Capt Gwinn
(Contract for Slaves)
March 5, 1764

Letter reference number: P:7