Date of Award

6-2019

Degree Name

MA in History

Department

History

College

College of Liberal Arts

Advisor

Thomas R. Trice

Advisor Department

History

Advisor College

College of Liberal Arts

Abstract

Charles Tyng has been heralded as an American hero after the posthumous publication of his memoir, Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain, 1808-1833, in 1999. Recent research involving British Treasury report books from the nineteenth century suggest otherwise – that Tyng actively promoted and was engaged in the illicit trade of African captives. A Boston Brahmin, Tyng applied the lessons of his time at sea with Perkins & Company, the opium trading firm, to his occupation as an agent of notorious slave trading firms in Havana. This paper uses as evidence records of the captures of several vessels that implicate Tyng directly in equipping ships for the slave trade to correct the historical record and exposing a supposed hero as a predatory capitalist ignoring ethics for financial gain.

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