<---Part 1: 1450-1750
Part 2: 1750-1805
Part 3: 1791-1831
Part 4: 1831-1865

Narrative | Resource Bank | Teacher's Guide

Historical Documents
An Englishman Tastes the Sweat of an African

Resource Bank Contents

An Englishman Tastes the Sweat of an African

click image for close-up
Today, you can find hundreds, if not thousands, of books offering advice and hints relating to specific professions and trades, ranging from TV repairmen to CEOs to office managers. This type of book has been around for centuries, as demonstrated by the French publication, Le commerce de l'Amerique par Marseille. About maritime trade, this would have been the book for you if you were the captain of an 18th century merchant ship.

The 1764 publication offers information about the trade of tobacco, cotton, indigo, etc., as well as captive Africans and the "precautions to take in buying slaves, and how to transport them to America in good health."

The book included this 1725 engraving by Serge Daget entitled An Englishman Tastes the Sweat of an African. Accompanying the engraving was a numbered list of descriptions in French, the numbers of which corresponded to those on the image.

1. Negroes displayed for sale in a public market.
2. A Negro Slave being examined before being purchased.
3. An Englishman licking the Negro's chin to confirm his age, and to discover from the taste of his sweat that he is not sick.
4. Negro Slave wearing the mark of slavery on his arm.

This image was displayed along with A View of Calabar.

Image Credit: Bibliothèque Nationale

previous | next

Related Entries:
Nicolas Owen
A View of Calabar

Part 1: Narrative | Resource Bank Contents | Teacher's Guide

Africans in America: Home | Resource Bank Index | Search | Shop

WGBH | PBS Online | ©