trans-Atlantic slave trade, slavery, Baltimore, Plattsburgh, Maria Gertrudes, Eros, Cyane, Thomas Sheppard, Silas Horton Stringham, Baltimore clipper
In 1820 the Plattsburgh was condemned for violating federal anti-slave trade legislation. This little known, rarely cited Supreme Court decision is important, because it pierces the veneer of romanticism that has been allowed to sugar over our recollection of Baltimore's maritime history. The case indicates that some of the most prominent ship owners and captains at the time, including Thomas Sheppard, John N. D'Arcy, Henry Didier, and Thomas Boyle, have links to the slave trade. This paper explores the cruel realities of the international slave trade, the ineffective federal laws aimed at prohibiting it, and the efforts by merchants to circumvent federal law in order to make money on the suffering of the innocent.
Admiralty | Law | United States History
Digital Commons Citation
Seaton, David, "Warts and All: How The Plattsburgh should change the way we look at the face of Baltimore Maritime History" (2013). Legal History Publications. 45.