Monday, March 28, 2011

George Washington Sells a Slave

To: Captain Josiah Thompson, of the schooner Swift)

From: George Washington

Date: July 2, 1766


With this Letter comes a Negro (Tom) which I beg the favor of you to sell, in any of the Islands you may go to, for whatever he will fetch, & bring me in return for him.

One Hogshead of best Molasses

One Ditto of best Rum

One Barrel of Lymes – if good & Cheap

One Pot of Tamarinds – containing about 10 lbs.

Two small Ditto of mixed Sweetmeats – about 5 lb. Each

And the residue, much or little, in good old Spirits

That this Fellow is both a Rogue and a Runaway (although, he was by no means remarkable for the former, and never practised the latter till of late) I shall not pretend to deny – But that he is exceeding healthy, strong, and good at the Hoe, the whole neighborhood can testify and particularly Mr. Johnson and his Son, who have both had him under them as foreman of the gang, which gives me reason to hope he may, with your good management, sell well, if kept clean and trimmed up a little offered to Sale.
I shall very cheerfully allow you the customary Commissions on this affair, and must beg the favor of you (least he should attempt his escape) to keep him handcuffd till you get to Sea – or in the Bay – after which I doubt not but you may make him very useful to you.

I wish you a pleasant and prosperous Passage, and a safe and speedy return, being Sir.

Your Very Humble Servant,
George Washington

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