Account book for the Snow, Molly, a slave ship

This account book records details of enslaved Africans purchased at Bonny, in the Bight of Biafra, for voyage to the Caribbean. The Molly set sail from Bristol in 1758 and was traded on the African coast in 1759. To most of the sailors and traders, the slave trade was a business like any other. It required detailed and accurate accounts. Books like this therefore treated the enslaved as cargo and not as human beings with their own rights.

This account book also lists the wide variety of goods that the Molly carried to trade for African people, and the prices that the ship’s captain had to pay. Many of these goods – such as knives, guns and hats – were made in Britain. Other entries in the book, such as cloth woven in India, show that the triangular trade was linked to a far wider global trade.

© National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, UK

Accession reference: National Maritime Museum, MSS/76/027.0