Donation: The rare note documenting the sale of a slave in the late 1790s, donated by an anonymous donor, hangs on the wall at the Historical Society Museum. Research will be done on the note in the coming months. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Donation: The rare note documenting the sale of a slave in the late 1790s, donated by an anonymous donor, hangs on the wall at the Historical Society Museum. Research will be done on the note in the coming months. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

A rare piece of Bermuda’s history has gone on display at the Historical Society Museum in Hamilton.

The letter details the sale of a slave called Peter from William Outerbridge to his son more than two centuries ago.

And it helps provide a unique insight into a grim aspect of Bermudian life in the late 1790s.

Anonymous

The letter was given to the Historical Society Museum by an anonymous donor following a report in the Bermuda Sun.

The article highlighted an American couple’s vintage honeymoon album of Bermuda from 1907, which had been donated to the Historical Society by their grandson.

The society’s president Andy Bermingham said: “After the article about the album in the Sun, I had a call from a well-known Bermudian who offered to donate to us a very rare and special document.

“This person wished to remain anonymous and brought it into the museum just over a week ago and it has been on display since then. But this person felt that the museum was a worthy place to donate it.

“I am told that this is an exceedingly rare document and we are very grateful to the person who donated it.

“We will do more research on the document in the coming months.”

The document is entitled ‘Bermuda Alias, Somers Islands’ and is signed off by William Outerbridge.

It is dated 1798 and details the sale of a slave from a father to his son for the price of 90 pounds.


It begins: “Know all persons whom it may concern that I, William Outerbridge, of Hamilton parish in the islands of Bermuda for and in consideration of the sum of ninety pounds current money of these islands to me in hand paid by my son William Outerbridge of the above said parish...do hereby acknowledge to bargain, sell and deliver unto the said William Outerbridge a male slave about eighteen years old known and called by the name of  Peter to have and hold…”

Some of the letter has become illegible due to the passages of time.

But it ends: “I have here to set my hand and seal this twelfth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety eight. Signed sealed and delivered in the presence of Robert Zuill, William Outerbridge.”