"THE TRADE TO AFRICA IS CHIEFLY CARRIED ON BY THE BRITISH MERCHANTS": RARE 1728 TREATISE CHRONICLING SOME OF THE ABUSES OF THE ASSIENTO SLAVE TRADE
(SLAVERY). Some Observations on the Assiento Trade, As it has been Exercised by the South-Sea Company; Proving the Damage, Which Will Accrue Thereby to the British Commerce and Plantations in America, and Particularly to Jamaica. London: H. Whitridge, 1728. Slim octavo, period-style full paneled calf, raised bands, tan morocco spine label; pp. 38. $1850.
First edition of this scarce, anonymous treatise on the abuses of the English Assiento trade in slaves to the Americas, particularly in regards to Jamaica and British colonies in North America.
This pamphlet is a complaint lodged by the British planters in the West Indies regarding the 1713 Assiento, or "Agreement," with Spain which gave Great Britain a virtual monopoly on the African slave trade. The planters feared that this agreement would require the British slavers to provide African slaves to the Spanish for their colonies in such numbers that there would not be sufficient slaves for the West Indies plantations. The Assiento with Spain marked the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade as an enormous economic engine. As a result, the nearly century-long period following this agreement through 1808 saw the forcible removal of millions of Africans from their homes.
This treatise examines many of the causes of the decline in trade in Jamaica, which the anonymous author attributes to the actions of the South Sea Company: "That the Colonies in America are of vast importance to the Nation; that the Northern and Southern plantations have a mutual dependence on each other; and consequently, that a Diminution of the Interest of any of them, will proportionably affect the whole, must be allowed by every Man." The author's premise is that trade in Jamaica has declined as a direct result of the South Sea Company's monopoly through the Assiento contract and that this situation will continue to decline and affect the stability of the entire region. Sabin 86683. Goldsmiths 6598. Hanson, 3721. Not in Blockson. Brooklyn Public Library perforated stamps on title page and last leaf of text; faint evidence of ink stamp to title page.
Title page mounted; text quite clean. Attractively bound. Rare.