1808 - The Domestic Slave Trade
Following the termination of the international slave trade in 1808, an extensive domestic trade opened between the older slave states such as Virginia and Maryland, and the new territories, such as Mississippi and Alabama. Cotton cultivation was pushing west, into the new southern territories, and plantation owners were desperate for slaves to work the crops.
In this letter from Henry A. Tayloe to "Dear Brother" [B.O. Tayloe], Henry tries to convince his brother to sell some of his slaves. Henry was a slave trader; his brother, a plantation owner living in Virginia. Henry wrote, "The present high price of Negroes can not continue long and if you will make me a partner in the sale on reasonable terms I will bring them out this Fall from VA and sell them for you and release you from all troubles." (This letter was provided by historian William Scarborough.)
Henry A. Tayloe to "Dear Brother" (B.O. Tayloe), January 5, 1835 From Walnut Grove (Marengo County, AL) to Washington City
George and myself only made 30 bales and George about the same. I wish you may visit me early this Spring to make some arrangements about your Negroes. If they continue high I would advise you to sell them in this country on one and two years credit bearing 8 per ct interest. The present high price of Negroes can not continue long and if you will make me a partner in the sale on reasonable terms I will bring them out this Fall from VA and sell them for you and release you from all troubles. On a credit your negroes would bring here about $120 to $130, 000 bearing 8 per ct interest. My object is to make a fortune here as soon as possible by industry and economy, and then return [to VA] to enjoy myself. Therefore I am willing to aid you in any way as far as reason will permit. You had better give your land away if you can get from $6 to $800 round for your Negroes -- and if you will incur the risk with me, and allow me time to pay you, I will give a fair price for one half bring them to this country sell the whole number and divide the proceeds of the sale equally. It is better to sell on time as by so doing good masters may be obtained.... I have rented land for your negroes and Henry Key's, and shall attend to them faithfully. Gowie [?] ran off about the 18th of December and has not been heard of. I hope to hear of him in a few days that I may put him to work. He went off without any provocation. I expect he is a deceitful fellow.
Alabama Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, Alabama