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    [Slavery] Charlestonian James Hamilton 1800-Dated Letter Regarding the Procurement of Slaves for His Plantation on St. Simon's Island along with an 1846-Dated Emancipation Document from King George County, Virginia. Two separate items, as follows.
    (1) A three page handwritten letter in ink on an 8.5" x 14" bifolium, "28th March 1800", "Charleston", from James Hamilton to business partner John Couper. He mentions crop pricing, gardening, and farming matters before discussing his desire to obtain more slaves. Bold writing, minor stains, expected folds, overall fine condition. Lot includes an archive of modern research material on St. Simons Island and the Hamilton Plantation. A full transcript is available on our website. Brief excerpt: "I am very desirous of getting a further supply of Negroes here either for cash or credit... All I aim at here would be a few jobbing mechanics - which if ever procured they make sad work about parting with their connections... Some of these are necessary I see for an establishment on a small scale, and when once procured they greatly facilitate the making of new settlements... a very great number of vessels have gone from hence and no doubt from other ports for Africa. These however I believe intend ending their voyage at Havannah..."
    (2) A one page manuscript document in ink, 7.5" x 12.5", "October 18, 1846", "Clerk's Office of King George County Court". A legal document signed and certified by County Clerk William Brown with embossed county seal. Docketed twice on verso: "Nelly Payne's Free papers" and likely carried by her. It regards the granting of this slave's freedom based on the will of her deceased owner: "Nelly Payne, a negro woman of dark complexion, about 30 years of age, 5 feet 1 inch high, with no particular mark or scar, who was emancipated by the will of Elizabeth Carter dec'd: is this day registered in my office, pursuant to the Act of Assembly in such case made and provided. At a Court held for the County of King George, the 18th day of October 1846. It appearing to the satisfaction of the County, that the register of Nelly Payne, made in the office, is correct, it was ordered that the same be certified." Folds and minor crinkling, fine condition.


    More Information:

    Charleston 28th March 1800

     

    Mr. John Couper

     

    D. Sir,

     

    Finding myself somewhat unwell and lazy last Friday I did not write you, Mrs. C however did not neglect her duty. I am since favored with both yours of the 8th and 16th. It would appear that Webb had been out 10 or 11 days time enough to have reached Vera Cruz. I expect there is something very wild and unapproachable in that St. Simon's bar - but indeed never knew such weather. Well it is to be hoped that the Atlantic gales has rid the sloop and passengers of the smallpox infection. Mr. Inman had my benediction for carrying away the brand of limes. I could not get him to recollect himself at all here. The Leonora so far has proved a very incautious concern. It will be proper hereafter to have a load actually at the wharf before vessels are engaged. Salt has been 606 here which is reckoned very cheap. Mr. Henry under rate of the 27th ulto sent from Jamaica mentions that slaves and lumber of all sorts is a mirror drug all over the island scarcely worth the freight so that the prices must drop under $70 for slaves. Mason is to be allowed interest from the 1st until paid. Interest was a proposal of my own.

     

    I have a great many notions about gardening, farming, machinery, etc. But it is no easy matter to complete them. Gardening - the objects sought for an abundant supply of seasonable vegetables, a few rarities - appeared that throughout the year solid vegetables are afforded. Fruits suitable for the soil and climate to commence as early and continue as long as possible as to leave and meet the northern supplies - a few rare fruits -farming, wild pasture lands be afforded - it must be obtained from cultivation, crab or other grape, turnips, pumpkins or oats or rye sown at proper time, grain must be procured and this feed is not to be thrown away upon runts. One good cow well fed is worth as many of them. Everything of stock must be fed - and I suppose that to as properly attended to will yield the provider.

     

    I am very desirous of getting a further supply of Negroes here either for cash or credit. It appears ruinous to touch them. Mr. Furman can inform you on this heading. All I aim at here would be a few jobbing mechanics - which if ever procured they make sad work about parting with their connections. Some of these are necessary I see for an establishment on a small scale, and when once procured they greatly facilitate the making of new settlements. It is probable that some Negroes may be had from the northward, but as yet I have no certain ground to go upon. I have been thinking that entire gangs may be had among the Bahamas for I hear they complain much of their crops. Perhaps a few now and then may be introduced in vessels from the West Indies. Whenever we have the means of supporting an intercourse with them - a very great number of vessels have gone from hence and no doubt from other ports for Africa. These however I believe intend ending their voyage at Havannah. Mr. Macleod has made astonishingly well out which has induced so many outfits from here. I have written for insurance of the Barque, cargo - the value of 180 barrels rice and 200 barrels cotton each 250th - and when prudence dictates £1,000 one thousand pounds on Barque and £600 or freight. You must express yourself freely on subjects of this kind.

     

    I lately fell in with Mr. Moubray he tells me that Procter is nothing of an engineer. The mill he erected for W. Borel looked very well on paper- and was as viewed standing still - but whenever a log met the teeth of the saws it stood still. The children are entirely free of the smallpox, but Nancy is troubled with her eyes. Mrs. Couper has been laid up with a cold but is now mending.

     

    Rice continues steady at 3.50, tobacco 4.50, cotton 37½ - 39, Corn 4/-. Cotton keeps up better than I apprehended. Bad as it is in Europe. I suppose it is next to rice and coffee in liveliness - so that the northern funds are thrown upon it and we even make money from the Bahamas. Nothing but money is going for it so that good bills are scarce.

     

    I am with regards dear sir your most obedient servant,

     

    James Hamilton

     

    P.S. Mrs. C. She has nothing more to say than what I have said.



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