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Post Slave Ships: The "Brookes"
Created by John Eipper on 04/20/17 12:34 PM

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Slave Ships: The "Brookes" (Robert Gibbs, USA, 04/20/17 12:34 pm)

The ubiquitous engraving of the transatlantic slave ship that John appended to my last post is what pushed me to look into the trade. The image is bogus, more accurately a propaganda piece. Wilberforce and others wanted the trade ended and were not beyond stretching the truth.

Also, no one has ever seen such a ship. How many slaves could survive a 3-4 month trip chained like that? Moreover, the crew would also suffer disease.  With this ship, how were they fed or given water? Chained as they were in a choking position?

To clarify, the only thing I was suggesting was that all numeric figures for the transatlantic slave trade are at best questionable. Whether it was one or a dozen, or the full 80 million, the trade was both immoral and wrong.

I did argue that ships at that time made 5 to 7 knots best over months of travel and had to use the yearly trades and currents. This limited the amount and frequency of the trade.

Then again there is the constant problem of food and water.

JE comments:  I've done some more digging.  The Brookes image is a 1788 engraving of a real ship--the Liverpool slave ship Brookes, which was legally permitted (!) to confine 454 humans in its "cargo."  The engraving, according to those who've counted, depicts 487 people on two decks.  The ship had reportedly carried as many as 744 on one journey.

Consider the provisioning, the vile sanitation and disease, and the infernal cruelty.  There must be figures somewhere on the mortality rate in transit, but I would think 50% or higher.

On a far more pleasant note, it's Robert Gibbs's birthday--the legendary "four-twenty."  Happy birthday, Bob!  Hope to talk to you soon.


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