The Diligent Summary

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The Diligent was written by Robert Harms and discusses the fifteen-month voyage of the Diligent to Martinique, including the world of the Atlantic slave trade. In his book, Harms uses the recently “discovered” journal of First Lieutenant Robert Durand. The author of the book makes references to Durand’s journal as well as the overall Atlantic slave trade. The Diligent can be viewed as an accurate representation of what the Atlantic slave trade was like during the eighteenth century right down to the business of the slave trade, the voyage itself, and the middle passage.
Most ships that European slave traders used on their voyages to go into Africa were owned by merchants similar to the Billy brothers. The Diligent belonged to the Billy brothers
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According to the author, “the bargaining began with Durand offering the least desirable trade goods. If they were refused, he would bring out more desirable merchandise” (Harms 248). This reflects the overall business of the Atlantic slave trade because the European trader’s primary objective was to acquire as many slaves as they could to deliver to the New World. Keeping records was another part of the business of the slave trade. For instance, while in Jakin, Robert Durand made sure that he “dutifully recorded each purchase in an account book” (Harms 249). This was to make sure that there was a record to be able to determine the amount that was spent, how much was acquired, and to allow them to be capable of determining the profits and losses. Similar to Robert Durand’s records, slave ships crews had to record each purchase. If they did not, then they would have a similar fate with that of Captain Pierre Mary and the lawsuit that was filed against him by the Billy brothers. Before purchasing enslaved African captives from the local traders, each captive had to be inspected. Harms explains that “Durand also checked the slaves for scarification, tattoos, and country marks that served as signifiers of ethnicity” (247). African captives were required to be examined before being purchased by the European slave traders. This relates to the overall nature of the Atlantic slave trade since African captives could not have any markings on them such as scars or tattoos. Any sort of defects or markings on them would decrease the overall value of the captives worth since they were not as

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