Book review of "Rum, Slaves and Molasses" written by Clifford Lindsey Alderman
The deWolf wharf in Bristol, Rhode Island, buzzed with activity on a day in 1802. The schooner Sukey was nearly ready to sail for West Africa. Her route, crew and cargo of rum had been carefully recorded, but not the true nature of her trip. For the Sukey was a slave ship, and the slave trade was now illegal.
What was known as the Triangular, or Three-Cornered, Trade continued to bring enormous profits to New England merchants, however, so despite the new laws the Sukey would carry rum to West Africa, slaves to the West Indies and molasses back to New England to be made into more rum.
Using the Sukey’s voyage as a framework, Clifford Alderman presents a comprehensive picture of the Triangular Trade, which was the cornerstone of much of New England’s prosperity in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
He discusses the social and economic background of the trade; how the slaves were acquired from Africa’s interior and loaded onto the ships; the dangers and atrocities of the terrible Middle Passage; and the effect the trade had on New England commerce and industry.
Encompassing a wealth of fascinating information, Mr. Alderman tells the dramatic and sobering story of a significant aspect of American history that has seldom been explored in depth.
Clifford Lindsey Alderman was born and grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, he served as a commander in World War II.
While doing research from Rum, Slaves and Molasses, Mr. Alderman and his wife toured the major sugar-growing West Indian islands- Jamaica, Barbados and Martinique- to “see something of the process and get the ‘feel’ of the islands.
Mr. Alderman is the author of many books for young people on American history, including The Rhode Island Colony and The Royal Opposition.
(From the publisher)