“Of the hundreds of logbooks and journals I have examined, this is the most valuable for the slave trade in western Africa. . . . [Mouser’s] exhaustive background research and editing are exemplary.” —George Brooks
Captain Samuel Gamble’s log contains the record of a slaving venture to Africa and Jamaica that nearly failed. It is one of the best firsthand narratives of the slave trade to survive. Bruce Mouser’s faithfully transcribed and carefully annotated edition of Gamble’s log provides a haunting perspective on slave trading at the end of the 18th century. Gamble was captain of the British merchant Sandown. During 1793–1794, the ship embarked on a commercial venture from England to Upper Guinea in West Africa to buy slaves and transport them for sale in Kingston, Jamaica. Gamble describes shipping at the beginning of the Anglo-French war in 1793, naval and nautical procedures for the English-African-West Indian trade, and the slave-trading patterns and institutions on the African coast and at Kingston, Jamaica. He recounts as well a yellow fever epidemic that swept the Atlantic and crippled commerce on both sides of the ocean. Mouser’s extensive annotations place Gamble’s account in historical context and explain for the reader Gamble’s observations on commerce, disease, and African peoples along the Upper Guinea coast.