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    [Boston Massacre] 1770 Merchant Letter Reference. An autograph letter from the London firm of Hayley and Hopkins to the Newport firm of Samuel and William Vernon, two pages with integral address leaf, 7.5" x 9", plain paper, April 26, 1770. The Boston Massacre was an incident involving the deaths of five American civilians at the hands of British troops on March 5, 1770 when a tense situation due to a heavy British military presence boiled over inciting a riot between soldiers and civilians. This letter reads, in part, "...The above is copy of our last respects... The nails you deisred are shipp'd on board the Frederick... the vessel we understand sailed from thence a few days ago but our agent has neglected sending up the invoice to us. We must therefore beg your excuse for not forwarding it by this opportunity, w'ch will not be of any great consequence as you will receive one from him with the goods. We have just now rec't your favours of 10th and 11th March by Capt. Gilbert. We are much obliged to you for the contents of that of the 11th respecting the horrid Massacre at Boston. The Insurances you desire on the Othello & the Royal Charlotte shall be taken care of & executed immediately... The Tea & other goods w'ch you desire may be shipped provided the Revenue Acts are repealed & not otherwise shall be of course obliged to omitt till we have your further orders respecting them as the Tea duty is not repealed & as far as we can understand is not likely to be so We are very respectfully, Gentlemen,... Since we wrote the above we have rec't the invoice of the nails shipped at Bristol w'ch we now enclose..." Fine condition with minor old glassine repairs affecting no text.

    Interestingly, Samuel and William Vernon were merchants who made much of their wealth trafficking in slaves. Newport ships took New England rum to Africa to purchase slaves which they took to the West Indies to trade for molasses which they then used to make more rum. At times, they would take the slaves to South Carolina to trade for rice. Between 1725 and 1808, Newport ships took approximately 100,000 people into slavery.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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