This illustration shows a group of porters carrying massive trays of coal on top of their heads in Brazil. Ewbank reports how "a gang of fourteen slaves came past [his house], with enormously wide but shallow baskets on their heads. They were unloading a barge of sea-coal, and conveying it to a foundry or forge. The weight each bore appeared equal to that of a bag of coffee (160 lbs)" (p. 729). Thomas Ewbank (1792–1870) was an English writer on practical mechanics. In 1845–1846, he traveled to Brazil and on his return published an account of his travels. He was then appointed United States Commissioner of Patents by President Taylor in 1849. Harper's Magazine (also called Harper's) is a monthly magazine of literature, politics, culture, finance and the arts.
Thomas Ewbank, "A Visit to the Land of the Cocoa and Palm," Harper's New Monthly Magazine (1853), vol. 7, p. 729. Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library.
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"Coal-Carriers", Slavery Images: A Visual Record of the African Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Early African Diaspora, accessed January 18, 2021, http://slaveryimages.org/s/slaveryimages/item/892