Textile Merchant Letterbook with Samples

This collection of letters documents the export and sale of British printed cotton textiles to Brazil in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The samples on this page are described as “a good style for the coast of Africa,” revealing how English merchants continued to profit from the slave trade after it had been banned in Britain in 1807. Textiles as well as firearms and foodstuffs were frequently used to purchase captive Africans, and this book documents the British manufacturers’ sale of cloth to Brazilian merchants, who could later exchange the goods for enslaved people.


Letter book with textile samples
England; 1827−41
Paper, cotton, linen, leather, pasteboard
Joseph Downs Collection of Manuscripts and Printed Ephemera Col. 50, 08×122, Winterthur Library