1500-1799 | Slavery

The New Eagle of Liverpool ‘arrived at Barbados… buried half her slaves.’

Model of an eighteenth century slave ship at The Smithsonian – Photo by Kenneth Lu – CC License – Wikimedia.

[ 4 August 1760 ]

On 4 August 1760, at the very bottom of a long paragraph listing the latest news of ship movements and arrivals, the Aberdeen Press and Journal, mentioned briefly that ‘the New Eagle of Liverpool, from Africa bound to Jamaica, having had seventeen weeks passage, is arrived at Barbados and buried half her slaves.’1  The casual reference to ‘burying slaves’ was far from unusual. In January the following year, the Sussex Weekly Advertiser devoted a mere sentence to report that ‘the Eagle Galley (a slave ship registered at Bristol)… is arrived at Jamaica, having buried 350 slaves on her passage.’2

Another three months later, the Oxford Journal noted, with equal brevity, that the Adventure, under Captain Fraser, ‘is arrived at Guadeloupe from Angola, after having buried near Half her slaves and brought in between 3 and 400 Negroes.’3 And only five weeks after that, the editor of the Chester Courrant was only marginally more generous in allowing two sentences to report that the Mary Snow of Liverpool had encountered the Harcourt, under Captain Webber, in the mid-Atlantic. One sentence gave the Harcourt‘s longitude and latitude and the other explained that the ship was ‘on its way from Bonny on the coast of Guinea, with slaves… bound to the West Indies, all very sickly, having buried above 100.’4 The phrase ‘burying slaves’ appears to have been a polite term for tossing their corpses into the Atlantic Ocean.


  1. ”Naval Affairs,’ The Aberdeen Press and Journal, 4 August 1760, p. 2.
  2. ‘Tuesday’s Post,’ The Sussex Weekly Advertiser, 12 January 1761, p. 1. According to the London Chronicle, 24 July 1760, the Eagle Galley had been previously fitted out in Bristol, was engaged in the ‘Guinea trade’ and until February of that year had been under the command of Captain Joseph Jones.
  3. ‘London,’ The Oxford Journal, 18 April, 1761, p. 3.
  4. ‘London,’ The Chester Courrant, 26 May 1761, p. 3.

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