Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution

Charles Rappleye, Author . Simon & Schuster $27 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7432-6687-1

Rappleye (All American Mafioso ) provides an incisive study of John and Moses Brown, two of four brothers from the Providence banking, import/export and slave-trading family. John spent his life as an unrepentant participant in the business of America's "peculiar institution." But Moses—following the American Revolution, during which all the Browns took up the cause of liberty—discovered Quakerism and abolitionism. He thereafter stood opposed to the business interests of his brother and the balance of his family. (Only Nicholas Brown Jr. joined Moses in his crusade). During 1789, Moses organized an abolitionist group in Providence that was instrumental in achieving passage of the federal Slave Trade Act of 1794 prohibiting ships destined to transport slaves to any foreign country from outfitting in American ports. John Brown—who deemed it improper to deny American citizens "the benefits of a trade permitted by all the European nations"—was the first Rhode Islander tried under that legislation. Convicted, he suffered the forfeiture of his slave ship, ironically named Hope. The tale of the Browns provides unique insight into the festering wound of slavery as manifested, with hard-edged and profitable heartlessness, during the colonial and postcolonial eras. 16 pages of photos, 3 maps. (May 16)

Reviewed on: 03/27/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-7432-6688-8
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-7432-8914-6
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