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1765-07-17

Brown, Moses to Nicholas Brown & Co.; July 17, 1765
On July 17, 1765, a letter finally arrived from Esek Hopkins on the coast of Africa, contradicting recent reports that the Sally and her crew had been lost. The letter came first to Moses Brown, who was in Newport on business; he forwarded it to his brothers in Providence, along with this note. While the letter from Hopkins does not survive, it is clear from this and other letters that Hopkins had lost one crewman to disease and a substantial share of his rum cargo to leakage, reducing the chances of a profitable voyage. But Moses's happiness was undimmed. "If Capt. Hopkins & People Return Safe with the Brigt. I shan't be any Great Disapointed What Else he Brings, after Ingaging in So Disagreeable a Trade and being alarmed with... Loss of Friends and Interests," he wrote. This passage is the only contemporary evidence that Moses entertained reservations about the venture, but the effect of the remark is diminished by the balance of the letter, which discusses the best market for selling the Sally's slaves.
Nicholas Brown & Co. to Hopkins, Esek; July 17, 1765
On July 17, 1765, ten months after the departure of the Sally, the Brown brothers finally received a letter from Esek Hopkins. The letter, which Hopkins had dispatched from Africa in May, disconfirmed recent reports that the Sally had been lost or that its crew had perished. (A second letter from Hopkins, written in March, arrived subsequently.) Moses Brown, who had come to Newport to organize the family's affairs in light of the reported loss of the Sally, was elated. "Such favourable Accts of your Circumstance from what we had heard Quite alleviates our Misfortune," he wrote. In this letter, dated July 17, Brown went on to offer advice about where Hopkins might most profitably dispose of his cargo. The letter was sent to Barbados, Hopkins's expected destination in the Caribbean. Like other letters posted by the Browns, it appears not to have reached the captain.