Waking up at 3am one night last week in London (up for a one-day zen retreat), I thought I’d read my Kindle ‘An Account of the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa‘ by Alexander Falconbridge (c. 1760–1792) (he was a British surgeon who took part in four voyages in slave ships between 1780 and 1787). I scan-read the 660 pages in an hour (a useful ability facilitated by the eBook format), then copied and emailed the passages I wanted to myself:

That’s actually a good method, I think, for displaying research material, as the email, if the material is in a block, simply copies a lot of the first block as a title and produces a tantalising (and here disturbing) hint of what the email could contain, such as:

“The Manner in which the Slaves are procured. After permission has been obtained for breaking trade, as it is termed, the captains go ashore, from time to time, to examine the negroes that are exposed to sale, and to make their purchases. The unhappy wretches thus disposed of, are bought by the black traders at fairs, which are held for that purpose, at the distance of upwards of two hundred miles from the sea coast, and these fairs are said to be supplied from an interior part of the country. Many negroes, upon being questioned relative to the places of their nativity have asserted, that they have travelled during the revolution of several moons, (their usual method of calculating time) before they have reached the places where they were purchased by the black traders. At these fairs, which are held at uncertain periods, but generally every six weeks, several thousands are frequently exposed to sale, who had been collected from all parts of the country for a very considerable distance round.

Didn’t really sleep very well after that, so not such a good idea…