Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Negroes and Slaves

27-29 August 1701
Ran away on Wednesday last, the 27th Inst. a Negro Man-servant nam’d Peter, aged about 31 Years, a lusty well-set man, of a stern Countenance, he had on a Woolen wast-coat, white Woolen Stockings, and a pair of Sea Breeches; belong to the Sloop, The New Content of Jamaica, Francis Morgan Commander, lying at Lime-House-Hole: Whoever brings him to his abovesaid Master, at Lime House Hole, on board the said Vessel, or to Mr. Charles Kent in Old Change, shall have 2 Guineas Reward and reasonable Charges. [The London Post]

11-13 March 1702   This day the Slaves lately arrived from Barbary, went in a Body to the Admiralty Office, in order to enter themselves on Board the Queen’s Ships: And ’twas Observable, that when they came Yesterday out of Pauls one of them was spyed out by 2 of his Daughters who came thither only out of Curiosity, and so soon as they saw their Father, run with open Arms, imbraced and Kissed him. [The London Post]

11-13 June 1702
A Slender middle sized India Black, in a dark grey Livery with Brass Buttons, went from Mrs Thwaits in Stepny, the 4th of June, and is supposed to be gone on board some Ship in the Downs; whoever secures and gives notice of him to Mrs. Thwaites or Mr Tresham two doors within Aldgate shall have 10s. reward and reasonable charges. [The Post Man]

7-10 January 1704
Pompe, a Black Boy, about Sixteen Years of Age; went away from his Master the 8th Instant. He has on a blew Waistcoat, a pair of light coloured Cloth Breeches, and an Iron Collor [sic] about his Neck; Whosoever brings him to his Master, Mr. William Steavens, Merchant, in East-Lane in Rotheriff, or to Mr. Stewards at the Crown Coffee-house behind the Exchange, shall be well Rewarded. [The English Post]

14 January 1707
Whereas a Negro, Aged about 2 years, belonging to the Royal African Company, was left between Egham and London, coming up from Hampton last Tuesday, in a light colour'd Wastcoat and Cap, going Lame. Whoever can discover where the said Negro is, or shall bring him to the African-house in Leaden-hall-street, shall have his Charges paid and receive a gratuity to his Satisfaction. [The Daily Courant]

25-27 November 1707
Run away on Tuesday the 18th instant, from Dormer Sheppard, Esq; at Mile-end Gren, a black Boy named Lewis, about 15 years old, in a Fustian Frock with Brass Buttons, Leather Breeches and blue Stockings. Whoever gives notice of or brings him to the said Dormer Sheppard, shall have their Charges paid and be very well rewarded besides; all Persons being forbid to harbour him at their Peril. He is suspected to be aboard some Ship in the River, bound for Leghorn or Guiney. [The Post Man]

13-16 December 1707
Run away from Dormer Sheppard, Esq; at Mile-end Green, on Sunday the 7th instant, a Black Boy, named Lewis, about 16 years old, with a Hat on, in a darkish fine Cloth Coat lin’d with Red, without a Wastcoat, Leather Breeches and Blue Stockings: He speaks English very well. He has been already advertis’d of in this Paper of the 27th and 29th of November, and the Gazetter of the 4th instant; and on the 5th was brought home from Her Majesties Ship the Roebuck at Sheerness, aboarde of which he had continued several Days, attempting to enter himself, having chang’d his Name to Scipio. He is now supposed to be Aboard some Man of War. Whoever secures him and gives notice of, or sends him to the said Dormer Sheppard, shall have their Charges paid and a Guinea Reward. Masters of Ships, and all other Persons are forbid to harbour him at their Peril. [The Post Man]

Saturday 6 December 1718   A young Negro boy, being lately presented to the Duke of Wharton, his Grace was pleas’d to have him baptiz’d by the name of Moody Morrollo Fairfoot (the last being the name of the seat of the Lord Hillsborough) who, together with the Duke, stood God-fathers, and the Lady Hillsborough God-mother. (Original Weekly Journal)

20 January 1722   On Sunday night last one Phipps, a Blackamoor, who kept a cook’s shop in Milford-Lane, was interr’d in St. Clement’s Church-yard, six Blacks held up the pall, and the corpse was follow’d in good order by 60 or 70 others of the same complexion, and about the same number of English people brought up the reer. (Weekly Journal or Saturday’s Post)

26 June 1725   Of 19 Miners that were hired at Falmouth, by the Royal African Company, to work in their Gold Mines in Africa, a Remnant of five have been lately brought home from Cape Coast by the Hamilton, Captain Kirk, and landed at the same Place they were shipp’d from. The rest dy’d in the Country. They went out two Years ago. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

26 March 1726   On Sunday last, a very odd and uncommon christning happen’d at the Parish Church of St. Giles’s. The procession was thus; 1st, came the reputed Father, a Guiney Black [i.e. from New Guinea], a very clever well-drest fellow, and another Black, who was to be the Godfather. 2dly, The Midwife, or rather her Deputy, a white woman, carrying the little sooty pagan, who was to be metamorphosed into a Christian. 3dly. The Mother, who was also a Black, but not of the Guiney breed, a well-shap’d, well-dress’d, genteel woman. 4thly, The two intended Godmothers, attended by 6 or 8 more, all Guiney Blacks, as pretty, genteel girls, as could be girt with a girdle, and setting aside the complexion, enough to tempt an old frozen anchorite to have crack’d a commandment with any of them. It occasion’d a great hubbub in the Church, but by prudent management, things were so order’d, that the young town-born Negro was carry'd home as staunch a believer as any of the European complexion of the same age ever was. [Weekly Journal, or The British Gazetteer]

16-18 February 1764   Among the sundry fashionable routs or clubs, that are held in town, that of the Blacks or Negro servants is not the least. On Wednesday night last, no less than fifty-seven of them, men and women, supped, drank, and entertained themselves with dancing and music, consisting of violins, French horns, and other instruments, at a public-house in Fleet-street, till four in the morning. No Whites were allowed to be present, for all the performers were Blacks. (London Chronicle)

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Negroes and Slaves", 21 April 2002, updated 31 March 2007 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/slaves.htm>

Return to list of Newspaper Reports