How to buy the book

You can order at History Press as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other on-line retailers. I will send you a signed copy for $23, a little extra to cover shipping. I will send you both Slave Labor in the Capital and Through a Fiery Trial for $40. Send a check to me at PO Box 63, Wellesley Island, NY 13640-0063.

My lectures at Sotterley Plantation in St. Mary's County, Maryland, on September 23, 2015, and the DAR Library on December 5 are now blog posts below listed under book talks. The talk I gave
at the Politics and Prose Bookstore on February 28, 2015, along with Heather Butts, author African American Medicine in Washington, was taped by the bookstore. Take a listen.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A middleman in the slave hiring process becomes an overseer

"Middlemen soon got involved in the slave hire process. In November 1794, a month before the slave hire contracts were finalized at the first of the year, John Slye offered to bring thirty "valuable Negro men slaves" owned by friends on the condition that they get sixty dollars a year for each slave and the commissioners would hire Slye as an overseer."

Quote from Slave Labor in the Capital, page 30

The letter below is from William Deakins who acted as the treasurer for the commissioners and also for the Potomac Company. He knew Slye from the Potomac company. Slye came to work for the company with recommendations as to his own character and with "hands." I don't think we can assume that those "hands" were slaves. Slye worked as an overseer at the Capitol for at least two years. I am not sure which slaves Slye brought to the Capitol but it might be possible to find out because those slaves asked the commissioners for inoculation against small pox and if they had been inoculuated, the payment to those masters would have been docked. 

The bearer Mr. John S Slye wishes to be employed as an overseer in the city, and in order to get him into your employ, his friends, he says, have engaged to hire to the city thirty valuable Negro Men Slaves for one year at 60 dollars a year for each. Mr. Slye had letters of recommendation to me from Mr. Forbes and Mr. Southern. when I was director of the Poto[mac]. Company and he was employed for one year with twenty hands which he brought with him on the Potomac Company's works. If you have a vacancy for an overseer, it may be an object to get Mr. Slye with the number of Labourers he can bring, which he says are valuable slaves.
William Deakins, Jr.
Nov 14, 1794

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