Communicating with a slave ship at sea was an uncertain business. Owners often sent letters and instructions on other ships bound for Africa or the West Indies, hoping that they might eventually find their way to their destination. In this letter, dated August 5, 1765, the Brown brothers ask a New York business partner, David Vanhorne, to forward a letter to Esek Hopkins to the island of Barbados, where Hopkins and the Sally are soon expected to arrive. The enclosed letter, presumably instructions to Hopkins on where to dispose of his cargo of enslaved Africans, does not survive. The letter seems never to have reached Hopkins, who put in briefly at Barbados but found no letters or instructions awaiting him. The Sally proceeded on to Antigua, where Hopkins sold the Africans who had survived the passage.
Letter, dated August 14, 1765, from the Brown brothers to David Vanhorne, a New York merchant and business partner, enclosing an invoice for a shipment of candles and requesting an account of how much they still owe. Financially overextended, the Browns seek a further advance from Vanhorne to enable them to buy whale headmatter for their spermaceti candleworks. They pledge to repay the money with profits from the sale of enslaved Africans on the Sally, which they expect to reach the West Indies in two months time.