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Clark, John

Brown, Moses to Clark, John and Nightingale, Joseph; August 26, 1783

During the Revolutionary War, the African slave trade out of Rhode Island was brought virtually to a standstill, but with the end of the war in 1783 the traffic stirred back to life. In August, Moses Brown, by then a confirmed opponent of the trade, heard reports that his friends John Clark and Joseph Nightingale, Providence merchants, were intending to dispatch a ship to Africa. The result was this letter, recounting his experience with the Sally and begging his friends not to repeat his mistake. Had the Sally never sailed, he wrote, "I should have been preserved from an Evil, which has given me the most uneasiness, and has left the greatest impression and stain upon my own mind of any, if not all my other conduct in life..." Nightingale and Clark elected not to heed the advice. Their ship, the Prudence, sailed for Africa a short time later.