French Slave Ship Vigilante, 1822


National Maritime Museum, London (neg. PY 7370). See also, "Case of the Vigilante" (London, 1826); copy in the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University."


Engraved drawing of the French slaving vessel Vigilante, showing cross sections of lower decks where captives were confined; leg and arm shackles are also illustrated. The manuscript caption at the top of the drawing reads: The representation of the brig Vigilante from Nantes, a vessel employed in the slave trade which was captured by Lieutenant Mildmay in the River Bonny, on the coast of Africa, on the 15th of April 1822. She was 240 tons of burden and had on board at the time she was taken 345 slaves. The slaves were found lying on their backs on the lower deck, as represented below; those in the centre were sitting, some in the posture in which they are there shown and others with their legs bent under them, resting upon the soles of their feet. This illustration was published as a foldout facing the title page in a pamphlet, Case of the Vigilante, a ship employed in the slave-trade: with some reflections on that traffic (London, 1826); this pamphlet gives details on the dimensions of each deck and the spaces allotted for the enslaved (copy in the John Carter Brown Library). This drawing was initially published as a large fold out in b/w, with accompanying descriptive text, in Affaire de La Vigilante, batiment nègrier de Nantes (Paris, 1823; see image JCB_01198-1 on this website). Nantes was the major French slave trading port.

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