Slave Trade

Ten letterbooks containing business correspondence to Oswald from his agents, factors, nephews and Edinburgh attorney, all written after his “retirement” to Scotland. The letters include extensive information on Oswald’s trading ventures, particularly his trade with the American colonies and his West African slave trade (based at Bunce Island), and his Scottish land investments.

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The collection contains material on the capture, trial, and release of the Amistad captives who were illegally sold into slavery. The collection consists of diaries, letters, court and government records, and newspaper accounts of the case; secondary accounts of the case; and background information on Africa, Cuba, the slave-trade, similar cases, slavery in the United States, and abolitionist sentiment in the North.

Papers of the American Slave Trade, provides scholars with access to primary source material on the business aspect of the trade in human beings. The collection documents the international slave trade in Britain’s New World colonies and the United States from 1718 to the trade’s demise after 1808. There are multiple series accompanied by printed guides. More information is available online.

Agents within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior were authorized by the Secretary of the Navy to receive any “Negroes, mulattos, or persons of color” found aboard vessels seized off the coast of Africa and relocate them to what is now known as Liberia. Ten microfilm reels, based on the originals held at the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. These documents and several related collections are now available in full online.

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Robert Bostock was a Liverpool trader who continued to be involved in the slave trade after its abolition by Parliament in 1807. His factory on Bunce Island was raided by H.M.S. Thais in 1813 and 233 slaves were seized. Also captured were Bostock, his partner Charles Mason, and the captain of an American slave-ship, the “Kitty,” which was to have smuggled the contraband slaves to Charleston, South Carolina.

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