This letter was written from Charleston, South Carolina, on March 5, 1800, by David Selden to his parents in Chatham, Connecticut. Selden lists several cities he has recently traveled to including New York and Philadelphia, with future destinations including Georgetown and Georgia. After describing the weather and spring blossoms of Charleston, Selden writes, "I cannot but reflect on the awfull sight to be seen at a place called Gadsdens wharf of about four thousand poor africans naked/in a manner/ and lousy[.] The most distressing sight I ever beheld offered for sale every day at Auction to him who will give the most." The letter is posted specifically to his father Reverend David Selden of Chatham, Connecticut, but the salutation reads "Dear parents".
A financial document (2018.43.8a) listing "Elizabeth Roberts Negroes," splitting them up by lot and divided between heirs by the executors of the estate of Elizabeth Roberts.
The document consists of handwritten black ink on both sides of a single sheet of paper.
The front of the large document notes the relationships people had with Elizabeth Roberts and their claims to her property, as well as the state and county officials involved. The back of the document names the enslaved persons with their ages, and notes how they or their equivalent monetary value should be distributed among the interested parties. The enslaved persons are listed as:
Harry, Hannah, and Philis went to James Spencer, brother of Elizabeth Roberts. Ben, Franny and Lucy went to William and Eleanor Spencer, nephew and niece of Elizabeth Roberts. The accounting of the estate is dated January 22, 1802 in Charleston. The division of property is entered as February 9, 1802 in St. Paul's Parish, Colleton District of South Carolina. The document is signed by Isaac Perry, Benjamin Perry, and Edward Tonge, executors of the estate.
The document is accompanied by a smaller piece of folded paper (2018.43.8b), that served as an envelope for the document. It has handwritten text summarizing the contents of the document.