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Sales record for the brig George in Surinam; August 13, 1770
The transatlantic slave trade was only one of the ways in which the Rhode Island was entangled with slavery. In addition to participating in the so-called "triangle trade," linking the West Indies, West Africa, and New England, Rhode Islanders conducted a robust bilateral trade with the plantation colonies of the Caribbean. Ships sailed south with a vast array of provisions, including candles, tobacco, tar, salt fish (the staple diet of African slaves), furniture, flour, and horses, which was exchanged chiefly for sugar and molasses, as well as for cotton, bills of exchange, and slaves. The Brown brothers played a particularly active role in the trade with Surinam, a Dutch colony on the coast of South America. The nature of the provisioning trade is illustrated in this document, dated August 13, 1770, which records all sales from a voyage to Surinam by the George, a Brown-owned brigantine.