Since slaves are the chief currency on the coast, and the Banana islands were an important holding place prior to shipping, Smeathman starts trading in them, revealing in his letters the intertwining of natural history with the slave trade and the rise of racial science, the latter bolstered by Linnean classification. Most of this chapter is set on the slave factories of Bunce Island and the Isles de Los, where the Linnaean botanist Anders Berlin dies and where Smeathman further observes the ships’ captains, sailors and surgeons as they load their human cargoes. He also comments on the vicious guns-for-slaves cycle, composing a gothic set-piece on the horror of slavery, but including in this picture the trade’s orderly economy.
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