Cargo of Ship Eagle, 1791

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


Early in 1791, Thomas Hodges, son-in-law and agent to Thomas Robison of Portland, boarded a French ship, bringing with him a cargo of 30 slaves from Robison's ship, the Eagle. Hodges crossed the Atlantic to Aux Cayes, Hispaniola (present day Les Cayes, Haiti), leaving the Eagle in the care of its captain. While an American ship like the Eagle would not have been allowed to bring slaves to the French colony, the French ship La Jeremie could bring Hodges's slaves on shore without consequence.

This document records the sale of 29 slaves (one of the 30 having died on the voyage) at Aux Cayes. Through a local merchant, Hodges sold the slaves to several men and women, many of them French colonists. The value of each purchase is listed on the front half of the folded account. Two individuals were given a discount for paying cash upfront.

Hodges used the proceeds of these sales to purchase over six tons of coffee for import to America. Often, American traders purchased hogsheads of sugar for the production of rum in New England. A letter from Hodges to Robison explains the preference for coffee, as the price was very low at the time, while the price of sugar was very high. The purchase price for 12,249 pounds of coffee was just one sixth of the gross value of 29 slaves.

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About This Item

  • Title: Cargo of Ship Eagle, 1791
  • Creation Date: 1791
  • Subject Date: 1791
  • Town: Les Cayes
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Local Code: Coll. 5, Box 7/11
  • Collection: Robison family papers
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

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

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