Ledgers there secrets and history.

My fascination with old books and ledgers is as old as I am tall. It is not secret that I am obsessed with these books that are both a living breathing piece of art as well as a part of history. I have a healthy collection of ledgers that I have had over many years, the information as well as the paper are a source of inspiration for my work.

I recently came across the following, although this is not from one of my ledgers it is from a ledger dated 1827. It is a letter detailing slaves on a ship.

In the early years on the 19th century, Mississippi changed rapidly from a European colonial backwater to the world’s major producer of cotton, made possible by the massive transplantation of slaves from the Upper South. A leading defender of slavery in Mississippi was the Rev. James Smylie, who established the state’s first Presbyterian church. In this letter, a correspondent offers Smylie the opportunity to send more enslaved people south to his plantation from a small town on Maryland’s eastern shore. “With respect to the favor you requested of me, I must beg to be excused as my friends are bitterly opposed to the purchase or trade in any respect of negroes. I have consulted some of my acquaintances and am induced to believe you can be supplied. There is now a trader here purchasing for the Natchez mkt who would be willing to make some arrangement with you, viz either purchase the negroes and deliver them at Natchez for a compensation, or supply you at that place out of his gang.”