Edward Perrin and the Save Trade: The Voyages of the Hopewell and Society

1685 map of Virginia and MarylandMap

Calvert County, Maryland and Westmoreland County, Virginia, 1685

I write this article with sadness. It is not easy to imagine any circumstances in which I would be able to subject other humans to the conditions associated with slavery. But my ancestor Edward Perrin had been intimately involved with just that. I most sincerely apologize for the behavior which is described below. I feel it my responsibility to bring Edward Perrin's behavior to light.

I am indebted to Alicia Evans of Bristol, a descendant of Edward Dobbins and distant cousin, for bringing the details of Twyford v. Totterdell to my attention. Matthew McKnight of the Maryland Historical Trust has helped greatly in sharing the archaeology of the Clifts.

Slavery in British North America, 1685

Originally all the colonies in British North American relied on indentured servants as their primary source of cheap labor. While the importance of indentures continued in the northern colonies, slavery ultimately replaced indentures in the South. In 1685 the change from indenture to slave labor was underway in Virginia, just starting in Maryland and points north.

The first African slaves had arrived in Virginia in 1619. By 1650 Virginia had introduced laws protecting and perpetuating slavery. The owners of larger Virginia plantations recognized the economic utility of slave labor early. The number of slaves in Virginia began to increase markedly by 1670. The growth of slavery was however limited by supply issues.

In Maryland slaves first arrived in 1644, nine years after the colony's formation. Slavery was legally instituted by 1664. But the slave and plantation economic system did not exist there until after 1690, possibly in part because of colonial politics, but also because of supply. In the four Maryland counties along the west coast of the Chesapeake Bay, slaves comprised only 3% of the total population in 1690; they were outnumbered by indentured servants. The percentage of slaves within the population there would increase to 24% by 1710 and 40% by 1750.

The supply of slaves to British North America was restricted due to the policies of the Royal African Company (RAC). Chartered in 1672, this company had a monopoly over the west African points of slave purchase and the trans-Atlantic transport of slaves. Barbados and Jamaica received the lion's share of new slaves. Indeed, the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database supports this notion, for in the biennium 1684-1685 there were 51 slaveship voyages sending 16,700 slaves to the West Indies; 46 of these were RAC ships bound to Barbados or Jamaica.. Slaves from the Indies were then resold by others to the North American colonies, Virginia planters such as William Byrd complained of the price markup .

In Maryland the market for slave importation was not as well developed. Governor Seymour reported to the Board of Trade in 1708 that there had been no RAC ships for twenty years. This, he said, had forced Maryland to rely on "very seldom" direct shipments "from Africa by Interlopers" or on "small Quantitys of Negro's from Barbados and other her Ma'tys Islands and Plantations, as Jamaica and New England." .

Slave importation to Virginia north of the James River Estuary probably also suffered supply limitations. Settlement of the Northern Neck of Virginia took place much later; settlement of Westmoreland County on the Potomac River did not begin until 1650. By 1685 the population of neighboring Northumberland County was 67% free, 25% indentured and only 8% slave .

The scope of the illegal slave trade "by interlopers" in the 1680s and 1690s is honestly not known. Often the known examples from that time are voyages which failed. A good example would be the experience of an unnamed ship as summed up in the following account: On July 23, 1686 Samuel Winder, sheriff of Richmond County, New York (present day Staten Island) wrote to Governor Dongan concerning one of Dongan's proteges, Edward Antill, and a ship captained by Lucas Santen .

Hearing that you could not come as you intended to my plantation, I took the sloop and went down to meet you. Not having the good fortune to see you, I went on board the ship from Madagascar and found Captain Santen, Barre Tuder, and Antill. Captain Santen used, as I thought, very unbecoming words of you, saying that you had put Antill on board as your spy, with intent to trepan [trap] him, but that for your cunning he would secure the ships and dispose of them as he thought fit, and so on. At last I told him that he did ill to speak like this before the captain, who was a stranger. Thereupon he fell into a passion, went on board his ship, ordered my master aboard, and demanded his cocket [seal used to indicate goods had passed through customs], to which he replied that it was not customary to take one. After a time he dismissed him, but afterwards the master and merchant came to me and said that after the language used by the Collector, they would not go up to New York, for they would assuredly be seized. I told them that your words were sufficient security for them, but they answered that it was doubtful where the power lay, as the Collector had the commission, and that he might give them so much trouble that they would not afford him the opportunity. At last, sooner than allow him to put to sea, I agreed with him for the negroes, and the master has entered his ship at Amboy. I hope that you will not blame me for his not coming to New York

It appears to me that Captain Santen's ship, laden with slaves from Madagascar, had been boarded by Antill when it approached New York. Perhaps Antill brought a message saying that Dongan would allow Santen to unload his cargo in New York. Santen was skeptical, the more so when he boarded Winder's ship and saw the Customs Collector was with him. Ultimately Santen said what probably was the general belief among merchants, namely that no matter what the local politicians said, authority lay with the local Customs Commissioner appointed by the Crown. Better to unload one's cargo in Perth Amboy, in New Jersey across from Staten Island.

To paraphrase Governor Seymour above, the successful "interloper" who wishes to profit in the slave trade must find a novel place to procure slaves, and also identify a niche market, all along avoiding any government inspectors who might seize one's ship. Leave it to a consortium of Bristol traders to attempt this trick.

Twyford v. Totterdell

An example of a successful slave voyage by an interloper is the voyage of the Hopewell from September, 1684 until May, 1686. It was described in the suit Twyford versus Totterdell, filed with the Six Clerks in 1692 . James Twyford, merchant of Bristol sued Henry Totterdell, the captain of the ship Hopewell, along with four others.

James Twyford had become a burgess of Bristol in 1672; in 1674 he married Sarah, the elder daughter of Bristol merchant Gabriel Goodman . Twyford had become wealthy with Gabriel's death in 1679, but the will read that all of Goodman's properties be held in trust until the marriage of Sarah's sister Mary or the year 1688 . James was still in St. Nicholas Parish, Bristol when his daughter Mary was buried September 27, 1684 . By 1692 he had retired to Kilmersdon, Somerset. His papers, including two account books, now reside in the Somerset Archives .

The defendants included Henry Totterdell, Richard Gotley, Edward Perryn, Edward Dobbins, and Edward Jones. Totterdell had been the captain of the Hopewell. Gotley, Perrin and Dobbins were all Quaker merchants, and were married to sisters, the daughters of James and Mary Dowlen . Edward Jones, merchant of Bristol was mentioned in probate proceedings in Northumberland County, Virginia from 1684 ; otherwise I know nothing of him.

Twyford apparently sued in order to collect his share of an investment in a merchant voyage captained by Totterdell. In his testimony he described

That your orator did in or about the month of September [under crease: 4?]th was in the yeare one thousand Six hundred & Eighty foure become a partner in the way of merchandizing in a treading voyage with Giles Merricke Richard Gotley Edward Perrin Edward Jones Stephen Watts & Edward Dobbins they all of ye said Citty of Bristoll merchants whoe did all agree together to buy & lay out Two thousand pounds or thereabouts in a Cargoe of goods & merchandizes to be carried & transported from ye said Citty of Bristoll to Guynea…

Twyford's fellow investors included two individuals not included in the suit: Giles Merrick was a Bristol sheriff along with Twyford in 1684 . Stephen Watts was a prosperous merchant from Clifton whose 1687 will mentioned two brothers-in-law; one was a current Sheriff and the other a former Sheriff of Bristol . The politics seem clear: it is hardly worth it to try to sue friends with law enforcement connections about a voyage which broke the law. On the other hand, having Quaker defendants might provide the complaintant with favorable treatment by the Court.

A Hopewell Voyage Strategy

The most detailed and accurate testimony concerning the Hopewell came from Captain Henry Totterdell. He quoted verbatim the written orders he received from the investment partners, dated September 4, 1684:

you are to Sayle with the first fayre wind that shall portent for the coast of Angola and there with the advice direction & assistane of Master William Burch your mate dispose of the Cargoe on board said Hopewell for our best advantage and purchase what Elephants Teeth copper wax gold Guiney wood hides etc. that may serve to accompt with about two hundred Negroes with all expedition possible

when please God you arrive att Luando St Paul [current day Luanda] & are at Auction you must goe or send on there to wait on the Governour & desire humbly to buy what necessary to Supply your wants in Distress

After have instructions here to manage your affaires use what dispatch can in the disposall of what may there then proceed to accomplish the rest of your voyage

For having taken in what Creue & roote is necessary for said Negroes make all convenient Speed may to Maryland Coming to an Anchor in the mouth of Potomack River where God sending you Safe you are to Send on Shoes to one Edward Perrin & Thomas Pope whose orders you are to follow in the disposeal of the said Negores for good bills of Exchange for England & reserving from dealing for Tobacco only enough to load the Shipp

and then to returne homeward if with proven Tobacco Fourth att Kinsayle where you will receive orders at the green-dragon but if bright Tobacco sayle directly to the Jersey Wight Landing so all process immediately att your arrival

If you find that maryland affords not a good Market to Sell all the Negroes Dispose of what [you] can there proceed with the rest to any part of Virginia wee suppose Potomack & York River may take off a good part

wee have delivered you two books one whereof with Invoice of what is loaden on board you for the Cargoe The other conteyning one hundred forty one Leaves Seated att each and wee desire & order you and the persons concerned in the disposeall of Said Cargoe & the efforts to be sett downe every day, transactions of what sold and bought & disbursed from tyme to tyme

Thus referring all to your prudent Conduct hoping wee need not press you to be carefull diligent & fathfull wishing you a happy prosperous voyage

Doe Subscribe your assured friends

Giles Merrick

James Twyford

Stephen Watts

Richard Gotley

Edward Perrin

Thomas Pope

Richard Gotley for Edward Dobbins

Twyford's account book showed he had purchased in August, 1684 £575 7d of cloth from London for the trip .

Totterdell's testimony stated the Hopewell soon set sail to Angola where it sold most of its merchandise and purchased 279 slaves, 5830 lbs. (weight) of elephant tusks and 504 lbs. of copper. £234 of goods remained unsold. After restocking provisions in Luanda, and leaving 2160 lbs. of tusks behind, the ship sailed from Angola in June, 1685. Continuing with the Captain’s testimony:

And on or about the moneth of June 1685 Lett sayle from the Coast of Angola directly for Maryland where hee arrived on the Eight Day of October in the said year of 1685

And this Seemaster landed the said Negroes that were then having & other goods and merchandizes on board remayning unsold at Angola & did pursuant to his Said orders Deliver the Same to Richard Johns being the order of the said Edward Perrin (the said Thomas Pope being then dead) which said Perrin was then in Pennsylvania and concerned a Sixth part therein

But the said Richard Johns & he the said Edward soon after returning [to] house sold and disposed of the same in Virginia & Maryland & purchased Tobacco & Bills of Exchange therewith or with Some of the ^partners thereof & loaded the said Shipp there with Tobacco on accompt of the partners sent the Elephant Teeth brought further by this Deponent from Angola on board the Alithea of Bristoll this being then in Maryland with orders to the master thereof to deliver them to the rest of his partners in Bristoll

The ship arrived in Maryland at Richard John's place on October 6, 1685, a 3-4 month voyage. Totterdell's testimony implied that Edward Perrin had verbally told him in September, 1684 to land at that specific place. Locating Johns' place should provide some insight into the voyage.

The Destination: Richard Johns and The Clifts

The life of Richard Johns has been well described . Johns was probably born in Bristol in 1649, arriving in Calvert County, Maryland in 1670, possibly as a recently released indentured servant. He soon joined the local Quaker Meeting at the Cliffs; it is said that he was converted to the Quaker religion when George Fox visited that Meeting in 1672 . Richard Johns married Elizabeth, the widow of Thomas Sparrow in 1675. There is an abundance of records concerning Johns and the Quaker Meeting starting in 1677. When Johns died in 1717, he possessed over 2400 acres of land. His estate was valued at £2200 and included twenty slaves.

Johns' business relationship with Edward Perrin of Bristol dates at least to 1680 when

I the said Edward Perrin as well for and in Consideracon aforesaid as also for diverse goods causes & valueable Consideracons me thereunto especially moving Have made assigned constituted and ordeined and by these pr'sents Doe make assigne Constitute ordein and in my place and stead put my welbeloved Friend Richard Johns of the Clifts aforesaid Planter my true and lawfull Attorny as well for me and in my name and to my owne proper use

Locating the Richard Johns residence in 1685 precisely is not possible given that all early Calvert County property records were destroyed in a courthouse fire. As of his death in 1717 he resided on a tract named Angelica, although probate records show he did not occupy that land before 1677 . Some years ago an archaeological investigation of Angelica revealed that it had been occupied between 1650 and 1750; an extensive variety of objects, particularly glass, stoneware and ceramic shards were recovered. Several objects such as knives and spoons had a mark consistent with Richard Johns and and his wife Elizabeth. The archaeologists concluded that their excavated site was not a private residence, but a trading post .

Detail of Calvert County on the 1685 map

Detail of Calvert County on the 1685 map

In the snippet of the 1685 Maryland map above one can appreciate the scope of the Clifts, indicated by the dotted shading. There is only one settlement placed along that coast at the time, Warrington. There is no physical evidence that Warrington ever existed. Probably the only reason it appears on the map is because it had been legislated into existence in 1684 .

On a more modern (1892) topographical map it may be possible to imagine the circumstances of this location. The archeaological site is indicated by the red asterix.

1892 topographic map


Richard Johns' location on the Clifts appears hardly suited for docking. There are no natural harbors or coves. But the map indicates a road just south of the Angelica location which goes from the relatively flat land above the clifts down to the Bay. There was a pier at the end of the road, said to have been there in colonial times . At that spot, or at Plum Point, further north, seventeenth century ships could have docked temporarily.

Edward Perrin, Agent for Maryland and Pennsylvania

Two Bristol agents were to manage the Hopewell in America. Only Edward Perrin survived. As he is discussed on a separate web page I will give only a brief biography here. He most likely was born and raised in Backwell, Somerset, marrying Jane Hort in Bristol in 1661 . Edward's became Quaker probably around 1667, that being the time his father-in-law John Hort was mentioned in the Bristol Meeting Minutes .

Edward had already travelled to Talbot County, Maryland by October, 1669, returning to Bristol in the summer of 1670 . Scattered records in Maryland suggest he travelled to AMerica at least five more times befgore 1685. His second marriager to Mary Robinson nee Dowlen took place in 1677 .

There are two records that show Perrin in America while awaiting the arrival of the Hopewell.

1. On April 7, 1685 "Edward Perrin of the City of Bristoll in the Kingdome of England and now Resident at th Clifts in Calvert County in the Province of Maryland Gent" sold the tracts Town Neck, 250 acres and Alltogether, 215 acres to Nicholas Greeneberry of Ann Arundel County County . This prime land, previously the plantation of Ralph Williams, was located at the outlet of the Severn River opposite Annapolis.

Map of Modern Annapolis

Road Map of Modern Annapolis, showing Greenbury Point and Carr Creek

Also recorded in that deed book was another deed for the same properties dated October 9, 1683, when Perrin purchased the land for "valuable considerations" from two couples, John Molling citizen and Juholder of London and Elizabeth his wife, and Edward Barber Citizen and joyner and Rebecca his wife "two of the daughters of Ralph Williams late of the County of Ann Arundel in the Province of Maryland in America in the parts beyond the sea" . Perrin apparently had served as an intermediary in the sale of this inherited property from Williams' estate.

2. In August 20, 1685 Edward Perrin witnessed this document in Philadelphia :

Know all men by thes presents That I Anthony Tomkins of the County of New-Castle in the territories of the province of Penn-silvania yeoman doe owe Stand justlie indebted and firmly bound to William Hampton of ye County of philadelphia Mrch in Behalf & for the sole and only proper use and behoofs of Charles Jones Jr. of Bristoll in ye kingdom of England Mrch and Companions in the personal Sum of one hundred and twentie pounds Current money of Pennsilvania, To be paid to the said Wm Hampton in Behalf and for the use aforesaid or to his or their Certain attorney, their heirs, executors, administr. or assigns, In and to the which payment well and trulie to be made I bind and oblidge anee my heirs executors & adminstrators personallie (and one Negro man Named Dirf & one Negro Woman named Maria, which two Negroes I hereby bind and make over to the sd Wm Hampton [for] and as a Securitie of the said debt) firmly by thes presents Witness my hand & seal this twentie day of ye Sixt Mon: 1685

The Condition of this obligation is such That if the above bound Anthony Tomkins his heirs, executors or administrators doe well and truly pay or Cause be paid to said Wm Hampton for purpose aforesaid the full and just sum of Threescore pounds Money aforesaid in Silver Money & no other pay watsoever - att the Towne of Philadelphia att or before the twentieth day of November next ensuing provided at hereof without further delay fraud or Circumstance That then and in that Case the above said obligation and ye securitie in the said two negros shall be void, of And same shall Stand and remain in full force.

The person signing was probably Anthony Tompkins of Southwark, feltmaker and Quaker, who purchased the rights to 5000 acres of Bucks County land in January, 1682 and travelled to Pennsylvania on the Vine in 1683 . In 1684 he obtained a 315 acre tract named Pomfret, located in southern New Castle County, probably just north of the present city of Smyrma, Delaware . His obligation was ultimately to Charles Jones, Jr., a prominent member of the Bristol Friends Meeting . I read this document as a purchase on approval of two slaves.

3. Finally there is a record of Perrin in America after the arrival of the slave ship. William Byrd, a planter residing on the James River, Virginia wrote to his business associates Perry and Lane in England on January 9, 1685/6 :

I designe to write Suddenly to you by Perrin, a Small west country man (who comeing from Barbados) wee bought his Cargoe, & hired his ship. Hee takes me in ab't 30 H''ds Tob'o I hope hee will not bee long after this. I shall charge bills of Ex'ce on you for my share of his goods w:h I hope you'l pay accordingly,

While his initial instructions for the voyage emphasized selling slaves north of the James River, I reckon Perrin had less success with northern Virginia after the death of Thomas Pope. I appreciate that Perrin may have deceived Byrd by saying he had sailed from Barbados.

Thomas Pope, Agent for Virginia

1685 map of Virginia and MarylandMap

Detail of Westmoreland County on the 1685 Map

While not an investor in the Hopewell voyage, Thomas Pope signed the September, 1684 orders for it. He was also designated as one of two persons directing the Hopewell around in America. But in October, 1685 Totterdell learned that Thomas Pope was dead. The circumstances of Pope's life may help identify the time of his death.

Thomas was the son of Nathan Pope. Nathan moved to Maryland quite early, being mentioned as a freeman in that colony in 1637, only two years after the arrival of the Dove . He was active in the conflict between Maryland and Virginia over Kent Island in the 1640s, ultimately moving to the newly-formed Westmoreland County, Virginia and settling along the Potomac .

Nathan Pope's will in 1659 began "Nathaniel Pope of Appomattox, Westmoreland County, Gentleman, about to go to England"; it listed 15 indentured servants but no slaves . His two sons Nathaniel and Thomas were minors, entrusted to the guardianship of their brother-in-law John Washington (incidentally the great grandfather of General and President George Washington).

Thomas was the grantee for property and a plaintiff in Westmoreland County in 1661 and 1662, but then assigned his power of attorney to John Washington in April, 1663 . In March 1764/5  he reappeared in Virginia with seventeen indentured servants. It seems likely he sailed to Bristol during that time period and married Jone Gatley alias Dowle on October 20, 1663 in Bristol, St. Phillip & St. Jacob's Parish , therby becoming a relation of Dobbins, Gotley and Perrin.

Thomas Pope was mentioned in Westmoreland County thereafter in September, 1671 and February, 1678/9. In 1671 he referred to himself as a "Merchant the Cittie of Bristoll". The 1679 document was a petition to prove a deed granting land to Mr. Richard Gotley . After 1680 Thomas along with Joan Pope are the parents for three baptisms in the Bristol Friends Meeting, the last of whom being Hannah Pope, baptised May 16, 1685  (implying a concetption in August, 1684).

Thomas Pope wrote his will on September 3, 1684, stating "I Thomas Pope of the parish of St. Phillip and Jacob in Bristoll Merchant being now bound on a Voyage to Sea" and mentioning his Bristol residence and two distinct tracts of Virginia land. The executors were Richard Gotley and Charles Jones the younger with trustees John Washington and William Harwidge, brothers-in-law in Virginia . Thomas Pope probably died in Virginia, as the Westmoreland County Court records stated "Att a private court held 28 April 1685 att the house late of Mr. Thomas Pope, deceased, att Pope's Creeke" the following opinion :

[that it was] the consideration of this Court to whome of right the administration of the estate of Pope & Company did belong, Lawrence Washington made itt appeare by three wittnesses that Pope severall times before and neere the time of his death declared that Lawrence Washington should have the sole management after the decease of Pope of all Pope's affaires in Virginia, but the Court being willing as neere as might bee to comply with the intentions of the testator were all of opinion that the administration was to bee granted jointly to them all.

Lawrence, brother of John Washington, was the Westmoreland County delegate to the Virginia House of Burgess at that time. His testimony makes it certain that Pope's death occurred in Virginia near the time of the Court's meeting in April, 1685.

Return of the Hopewell

Edward Perrin probably stayed in America until March, 1686. James Twyford's memorandum book contains the following bill of exchange, in which Richard Johns directed Samuel Groome, merchant and Quaker of London to pay Twyford :

Maryland the 2 March 1685/6

Thirtye dayes after signt of this my First bill of Exchange my second not payd pay to James Twyford or order the summe of two Hundred nd Ten pounds Currant mony of England vallue Received here which place to Accept of thy Freinde

Richd Johns

To Samuell Groome merchant in London

Totterdell's narrative agreed with the date of that bill of exchange:

after the said Shipp was laden in Maryland aforesaid by the said Perrin He & this Defendant togeather with he the said Edward Perrin Lett Sayle with the said Shipp from the Coast of Maryland and arrived att Cork in the Kingdom of Ireland on or about the Seaveteenth day of May 1686 with the said Tobacco & other goods & merchandizes

First mate William Burgh apparently sailed back to England with the elephant's tusks. He claimed that he deserved extra compensation for the voyage: In the original orders Totterdell had reported:

The Agreement with the mark Burch Attached that hee shall have two and halfe & Pound for his Commisciend Negroes for which Negroes hired to have bills on in Gile Merrick & Company at the rate of Fifteen pounds a head & for his wages three pounds tenn Shillings & weneth to have his bills on Same drawn by the master & Edward Perrin

But Burgh demanded extra compensation to cover the 60 "servants or slaves" who had died on the voyage from Angola to Virginia, claiming their death was the result of inadequate provisions. His complaints must have been persistent, as he was imprisoned briefly for his behavior and ultimately filed suit in the Six Clerks court . In the process of his suit, he mentioned others who financed the Hopewell voyage, including James Dowlen (the brother-in-law of Perrin, Gotley, Dobbins and possibly Pope).

Epilogue, the Voyage of the Society

The voyage of the Hopewell was probably a commercial success. Its backers included a number of influential merchants. Its captain and first mate were able to avoid landing in a British port in Africa or America. Several maneuvers were incorporated into the voyage to minimize economic loss. The two Bristol Quaker factors traveled separately from the slave voyage to the mid-Atlantic colonies, The illegal ivory on the voyage was shipped to England separately. Sale of the slaves in America was to depend on the efforts of men who knew well the geography of Maryland and the Northern Neck of Virginia, respectively. While the loss of Thomas Pope may have decreased slave sales in the Northern Neck, Perrin made up for that by taking the Hopewell into the James River estuary.

It is interesting to contrast the Hopewell voyage with the voyage of Society. James Twyford referred to himself as the owner of this ship in his correspondence with the Lords of Trade and Plantations in April,1690. Eventually they ordered that his petition for "restoration of the ship Society, condemned in Virginia, be referred to the Royal African Company for their reply" . The RAC answer   was returned in January, 1693. In the meantime someone must have written to Virginia to find out what really happened. The Virginia Council in October, 1691 directed the Sheriff of Norfolk County to collect testimony about

all persons who can give any account of the Arrivall of the Ship Society of Bristoll in the yeare 1687, the disposeing of the Negroes, Elephants teetch etc. brought in, in her, or the Casting away of the said Ship, appeare at James Citty the 29th day of this Instant, to Testifye their knowledge therein, also requireing the said Sheriffe to Summons the four first in the Comission of the Peace who were of the Court on tryall of the said Ship,

Indeed the Council at already recorded in November, 1687:

an account of rigging, etc. of ship Society, of Bristol, Siezed and forfeited to his Majesty for failure to comply with Port regulations, payment of import dues on slaves, etc.

The testimonies give much more depth to the story:

The Deposition of James Lemount, in regard to the landing of one hundred and twenty negroes and a quantity of Elephants teeth on the Eastern Shore, by officers and owner of the Ship Society, of Bristol, on sunday morning, the 7th August, 1687; and the loss of the vessel by being wrecked on the Coast on the same day. It appears the said Lemount and others afforded assistance in putting the negroes on shore, for which service he received “thirty pounds sterling”, which the Master of the shipp “paid by two young negroes, a boy and a girle”. The excuse give for landing these negroes and Elephants teeth, was that the ship was short of provisions, But the officer in command had been careful to enquire “Whereabout the Man of Warr lay,” and “whether there weare conveniency there to land A Parcell of negroes?” before he ventured to bring his ship sufficiently near the shore to effect this. Coll. Cole, Collector had seied the vessel, crew and cargo…

The deposition of Jno. Corpres, Aged 49 or thereabouts being at James Lemmon’s house some time in August, in the yeare of our Lord, 1687, and there meeting with the master of the ship Society, that was cast away, by name John Skeetch, whoe desired me to take a parsell of negroes home with mee, which if I would, he would pay mee for their diet and my care and trouble. About [blank] I would take about 20 of them, and he sd I must feed them twice a day with meat, and I should bee well paid, and the sd Skeetch . . . brought or sent 20 negroes or thereabouts. Whereof I Agreed with him, and bought an old man, and a young boy 6 yeare old for fiveteen pounds, which money was to be allowed mee by the sd Skeetch in consideration of my diet, care and trouble of the sd negores, and after this the Honorable Coll. Cole came to my house and sd to my wife that I must bring the negores I had in my possesion to Mr. Spratts…

The last testimony is interesting as The Slave Voyage Database states the captain of the SocietySociety was not John Skeetch but William Burgh . Burgh had left a will in Bristol dated December 6, 1686 , so it makes sense to assume the ship left Bristol soon thereafter. It arrived in Virginia in August, 1687. Back in England William Burgh's will was proved in November, 1687, three months later . The chronology makes it possible to imagine Burgh died before the Society made it to Virginia.