The ugly truth

Extract from a letter dated 15 February 1772 in which Macintosh commissions branding irons with which to mark his slaves.

Extract from a letter dated 15 February 1772 in which Macintosh commissions branding irons with which to mark his slaves. Bibliothèque Ceccano Ms. 1297.

I have written before about Macintosh’s role as slave owner and trader and how uncomfortable it is to encounter in the archive evidence of the brutality and inhumanity of slavery. It is often the matter-of-fact way in which the purchase, management, and punishment of slaves is described that is so chilling; the extract above is just one example of that. It is from a letter sent by Macintosh in February 1772 in which he commissioned branding irons for use on slaves that he owned jointly with William Pulteney. It reads:

Please to get made of silver set in a wooden handle, two such stamps as are underneath for marking our Tobago & Dominico [sic] Slaves.

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