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contracts (legal documents)

Articles for the brig Sally; September, 1764
Sailors serving on a ship signed an "Articles," which listed their names, duties, and wages, as well as the dates on which they signed on, died, or were discharged. This document is the Articles of the Sally for its voyage to Africa in 1764. Note the inclusion of Edward Abby, described as a "Negro Boy." Abby was Hopkins's slave; his wages were paid to his owner's account. There were generally multiple copies of such documents, and two are included here. The first one is clearly the copy that Hopkins carried on board ship, since it includes the name of two sailors, Peter Franey and Richard Mugford, who joined the ship in Africa and Antigua, respectively, neither of whom appears on the second copy. The reverse of both documents includes details about payments and advances to different sailors.
Articles; October 30, 1765
Articles, dated October 30, 1765, specifying the names, duties, and wages of the crew of the George, a brigantine owned by the Brown brothers, for a voyage from Providence to the Surinam, a Dutch colony on the coast of South America. The articles list Abraham Whipple as George's master, though by the time the ship sailed he had been reassigned to another Brown ship, the sloop Four Brothers, also bound for Surinam, leaving the George in the command of Nicholas Power. In their subsequent letter of instructions to Power (see document 16), the Browns directed him to rendezvous with Whipple in Surinam, to switch ships with him, and to proceed to Barbados in hopes of locating and assisting Esek Hopkins and the Sally, who were en route from Africa with a cargo of slaves.
Contact; August 4, 1776
The Brown family's enterprises included a chandlery, where spermaceti, oil harvested from the headmatter of whales, was manufactured into bright-burning, smokeless candles. Labor demands in the chandlery fluctuated with the season, and the Brown's often relied on slaves to supplement the workforce of free laborers. Moses Brown's decision to manumit his slaves in 1773 disrupted this arrangement. In this contract, dated August 4, 1776, the four Brown brothers agreed not to employ slaves at the works, except during peak periods, when necessary to get the stock out. In such cases, the four brothers agreed, Moses could supply his quota of additional workers with free rather than enslaved laborers.
Contract to purchase horses; March 11, 1765
Business agreement, March 11, 1765, contracting one Isaac Tripp to purchase "Forty Horses ... fitt for the Suranam Markkett" on behalf of Nicholas Brown and Company for an upcoming voyage to the colony. Rhode Island horses - so called "Narragansett pacers" were much prized by Caribbean planters, and represented a major component of the provisioning trade. With hard money in short supply, the Browns proposed to pay for the purchase in goods, including rum, sugar, molasses, and "one Negrow Garl," with a total value not to exceed 180.