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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. Series A focuses on the importation of slaves from Africa_the financial concerns and risk factors, slave treatment and slave revolts on transoceanic voyages, the effect of legislation on the trade, regional origins and destinations of captives, the Caribbean economy in American colonial times, the related molasses and rum trade, and a great deal more. The Brown family collections date from the early 1700s to the early 1800s. The brothers James and Obadiah Brown, leading merchants of Providence, Rhode Island, were among the first West Indies molasses and sugar merchants from that city to engage in the African slave trade. The second generation included James_s sons, Moses Brown and John Brown. After participating in at least one slaving venture in his youth, Moses became a Quaker and a leader in the movement to outlaw the trade. He was instrumental in the passage of the federal Slave Trade Act of 1794, which prohibited ships destined to transport slaves to any foreign country from outfitting in American ports. His brother John remained active in the business, advocating expansion of the slave trade while a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. John Brown became the first Rhode Islander tried under the 1794 legislation and suffered the forfeiture of the ship Hope in 1797. Letters among the brothers and other records document these and other activities of one of America_s preeminent merchant families. Other items in Part 1 include the letter book of James Brown regarding the sloop Mary, fitted out as the first "Guinea man" (a vessel sailing to the coast of Guinea) from Providence around 1736; and Obadiah Brown_s insurance book and other records of slaving voyages between 1753 and 1759.
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