1767 Manuscript Sight Draft-slave Trader/revolution War William Vernon Autograph For Sale
1767 Colonial Manuscript Document SIGNED - Famous Slave Trader William Vernon Sr
Colonial manuscript Sight Draft dated January 16th, 1767 at WHITEHALL (Middletown) Rhode Island. This was the residence of the famous British Dean George Berkeley and is now the Whitehall Museum House listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The document is signed by the famous William Vernon (Picture #5).
I do not know who signed the front, but I included a close-up in case someone else recognizes it. Maybe famous, too??!!
William Vernon (1719-1806) was a prosperous Newport, Rhode Island, merchant and slave trader acquainted with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and the Marquis de Lafayette. Later in 1777, Vernon, whose maritime trading ventures included Europe, Africa, and the West Indies, was chosen by the Continental Congress to serve on the Eastern Navy Board.
The Vernon brothers, William and Samuel, made a name for themselves in Newport by successfully utilizing the "triangle trade." Their first ship, commanded by Captain John Godfrey, was ironically named the Olive Branch. The brothers also owned the Hare, a ship whose participation in the American slave trade is well documented. Incredible profits were made by purchasing slaves in Africa with rum from the colonies, selling those slaves in the West Indies, using those profits to purchase molasses from those ports before buying more rum in the colonies, continuing the triangular cycle of trade.
Samuel and William Vernon also jointly owned the ship Othello.
After moving closer to the heart of revolutionary activity, Vernon was appointed by the Continental Congress as the president of the Eastern Naval Board on May 6, 1777. This position was effectively the precursor to the Department of the Navy (effectively making Vernon the first Secretary of the Navy, before the position was officially established in the 1790s). In this position, Vernon was responsible for building and outfitting the ships of the colonial Navy for the duration of the American Revolution.
Vernon was extremely dedicated to his duties; on several occasions, he actually contributed some of his own personal wealth to the cause with little chance of collecting interest or even repayment. After the Revolution, Vernon became involved in the Board of the Admiralty before returning to Newport, Post-Revolution.
Following the Revolution, William Vernon continued to expand his activities and influence within the Newport community. He was a president of the Redwood Library, founding member of the Newport Artillery Company and a key figure in establishing the Newport Bank in 1803. William Vernon was an early benefactor of the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University). William Vernon continued his triangle trade merchant activities throughout the revolution and following his brother Samuel's death in 1792 until at least 1799. William Vernon is buried in the Vernon Cemetery on Warner Street in Newport, Rhode Island. His house, Vernon House, is a National Historic Landmark.
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1767 Manuscript Sight Draft-slave Trader/revolution War William Vernon Autograph: $699