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Middle passage

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  • After the 1788 Regulation Act, the Brookes (also spelled Brooks) was allowed to carry 454 slaves, the approximate number shown in this illustration. However, in four earlier voyages (1781-86), she carried from 609 to 740 slaves so crowding was much worse than shown here; for example, in her 1782 voyage with 609 enslaved Africans, there were 351 men, 127 women, 90 boys, and 41 girls crammed into its decks
  • They were brought up on the top deck. "Each individual, as he came up the hatchway, was rudely seized by a sailor, who stood by with a soft brush in his hand and a pail at his feet; the latter containing a black composition of gunpowder, lemon-juice, and palm-oil. Of this mixture the unresisting captive received a coating which, by the hand of another sailor, was rubbed in the skin, and polished with a danby-brush" until the sable epidermis glistened like a newly-blacked boot. . . . . It was not the first time those unfeeling men had assisted at the spectacle of a slaver's cargo being made ready for market"
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