[p. 23] office furniture of those days, and the water marks in the durable unruled paper showing the royal crown, with G. R. beneath, are suggestive of the ‘Stamp Act.’ The peculiar product of Medford formed the principal part of the cargo and was the medium of exchange on the African coast. The voyages were usually triangular, the second lap being to the West Indies or southern ports, then homeward with the results in southern produce or cash, and with the few unsold slaves. The vessel's return was watched for with much concern by the merchant owner, and, we doubt not, by his clerk, who was an adventurer in a small way—twelve pounds worth of sugar. This is not a children's story (or song) but a young man's business adventure. We have no means of telling of its result. Clerk Minot was an expert penman, somewhat liberal in use of flourishes and in the merchant's employ for several years for the ‘great end of getting money,’ as emphasized by his use of capitals in his letter to Captain Gwin. The merchant had several vessels in the African trade, and for the last twelve (or more) years of his life was a property owner and resident in Medford, passing away in 1790. Historian Brooks, writing about midway between the time of these papers and the present day, said,
How will the above read in the capital of Liberia two hundred years hence?How does it read in Medford (where rum was made) today? But the Nantucket-Boston-Medford men were not ‘sinners above all men.’ There were others, as a recent publication, A Rhode Island Slaver (Shepley Library, Providence, 1922), clearly proves by reproducing the Trade book of the Sloop Adventure, 1773-4. Of Captain Peter Gwin, his various commands, voyages and doings, the letters and instructions of his ‘assured friend and owner’ give much information, and are a side light on a business once considered legitimate.