Ready for the crossing

Captain’s letter

On the snowship The Unity of the Commercie Compagnie

This 1st of May 1762 at the roadstead of Elmina CastleGhanad’Elmina

Honorable Sirs and directors of the Commercie Compagnie

Dear Sirs,

My last letter to your honorable was dated the first of January 1762, written according to the attached copy at the roadstead of Buchanan LiberiaGroot Baza, with eleven slaves onboard. We left on the third of the month to trade down the coast.

On the 9th of February we anchored at Grand-LahouIvoorkustCape Lahoe with one hundred slaves. There we found the ship The Jacoba Maria, captained by David Soloni of Vlissingen, who left south on January 11th. On the 20th of January the frigate The Guinean Friends, commanded by Captain A. Meijer, dropped anchor next to us. We left him on the 22nd in good well-being and departed for GhanaAxim.

On the 5th of March we arrived at the roadstead with 277 slaves. We left on March 21st with 288 slaves to negotiate along the trading offices and arrived on April 12th at the roadstead of d’Elmina with 305 slaves.

Here we found the frigate The Publicola anchored, commanded by captain Jacob van Bel of Rotterdam, here for slaves. We then saw captain David Soloni moor at Cape CoastGhanaCaap Cors, at the English roadstead. Both ships will leave for Suriname after this, and are ready to sail.

We will take in water and fire wood here and store the remainder of the water barrels. We have also bought some wheatmillet.

Here we received tidings of captain Den Hollander, Casteleijn en Hermans, who were on the the Windward Coast. The slaves here are sold for a price of 10 to 11 and the goods are sold in gold and for less than in the homeland: the merchants here even sell the bajutapauts [textile], naginapaat [textile], chelloes [textile], blue Guineas and cotton to the negroes for 12 ½ guilders.

The anchors of liquor fare no better today; this is due to the English, who bring a lot of linen or cotton cloth, used by Africans as clothing – usually a loinclothpaantjes and liquor. The gun powder also fares ill; even money from the homeland was sold nearby. The guns sold best of all here.

After the all-wise and wonderful provision of the Almighty and while praying for and in expectation of His blessings, we added afterwards: on May 2nddeparted for America with a total of 319 slaves, to wit living slaves, and 7 dead slaves. In total we traded for 326 heads, 3.611 lb of elephant tusks and 322 lb. scrivellors, with some unsold cargo goods leftover. I will send your honorable the transactional account as well as give notice of the circumstances of our journey, though this has been impossible lately because of my departure.

Since departing the homeland a total of three of my crew members have died: Roelof Sievart, born in Breeswijk in Norway, died on December 24th 1761 at the roadstead of LiberiaLittle Bassa; boatswain’s mate Hans Cramer of Copenhague, who fell overboard and drowned on the night of January 1st 1762; and on February 22nd of 1762 sailor Maarten Cappel from Vlissingen, who was in the boat which was out trading, drowned.

Regarding the rest I have nothing else of importance to report to you other than that I and my officers and crew are in good health, as I hope I may find your honor and your family, which would be a pleasure.

With which, after greeting you and your honorable family and recommending them to God’s holy protection, I respectfully sign,

Honorable sirs,

Your honorable servant,

Jan Menkenveld