Liberated Africans taken to British Ship, Bonny River, 1837

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Drawing of a large canoe taking people to an off-shore European vessel. The illustration shown here is from a photograph of the drawing purchased by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Mass. in 1941(neg. 12877). The PEM has no record of where it purchased the photograph, but our research in London demonstrates it was obtained from the National Maritime Museum, London (neg. PU5861) which has many drawings of British naval vessels and captured slaving ships. The hand-written caption (in English) under the drawing reads: "Paquito de Cabo Verde Portuguese slave brig captured by boats of the H. M. S. Scout on 11th Jany. 1837 in the Bonny River. She had mounted 2 18 prs. [guns] with a crew of 35 men and 576 slaves on board"; TF Birch (engraver). Shipping records show that the "Paquete de Cabo Verde" was, in fact, detained in Bonny on the above date and was bound for Cuba; although "nominally" registered as Portuguese, it probably belonged to owners in Spanish Havana (David Eltis, pers. com.). Daniel Mannix (Black Cargoes [New York, 1962], after p. 146) publishes this illustration suggesting the people in the canoe were slaves being taken to a waiting slave ship. The illustration, however, depicts the liberated Africans being taken from the slave ship to a British naval vessel.