Letter from Thomas Hodges to Captain Henry Skinner, Portland, 1791
Item 102024 info
Maine Historical Society
In February 1791, Thomas Hodges sold 29 slaves in Hispaniola on behalf of his father-in-law, Thomas Robison of Portland. American ships were not allowed to bring slaves to the French colony, so Hodges had chartered a French ship to bring his cargo into the port of Aux Cayes (present day Les Cayes, Haiti). Once there, he devised a plan to sneak a second shipment of slaves into Hispaniola aboard the Eagle, which would sail from Africa that summer.
Hodges sent his plan to Portland for Thomas Robison's approval, in hopes that Robison would forward his instructions to friends on the island of St. Eustatius, where the Eagle was expected to land in July or August. These instructions directed Captain Henry Skinner to sail directly to a sugar plantation along the coast of Hispaniola, within a short distance of Aux Cayes. He was to meet the plantation owner, who would take the slaves, and move along to the port, where it would appear that the Eagle had arrived with an empty hull.
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