Thomas Reed to Thomas Robison regarding the Caribbean economy and slave market, Sint Eustatius, 1791

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


In this July 24, 1791 letter to Thomas Robison, his one-time business partner, Thomas Reed sent news from the island of St. Eustatius in the Dutch West Indies. He reported what he heard about the Eagle (a ship owned in part by Robison) and included several details of the Caribbean economy in 1791.

Reed hinted at a disagreement aboard the Eagle between George Bolland, who is part owner of the ship, and its captain, Henry Skinner, regarding the shipment of slaves from Africa to the West Indies. Reed adds a post-script warning Robison of a potential conflict between George Bolland and Robison's son-in-law and agent, Thomas Hodges.

Reed's letter contains a wealth of economic advice to Robison. He detailed the saturated market for slaves in the islands and estimated prices in common Portuguese currency known as Johanneses (or Joes). He sent news that Spain's King Charles IV just opened Havana, Cuba to foreign merchants, and advised Robison to send his goods there. Reed also mentioned the risk of trading on credit to French citizens while their home country experiences the political upheaval of the French Revolution.

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About This Item

  • Title: Thomas Reed to Thomas Robison regarding the Caribbean economy and slave market, Sint Eustatius, 1791
  • Creator: Reed, Thomas
  • Creation Date: 1791-07-24
  • Subject Date: 1791
  • Local Name: Statia
  • Town: Havana
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Local Code: Coll. 5, Box 2/7
  • Collection: Robison family papers
  • Object Type: Text

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Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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