The Midas of Manumission: The Orphan Samuel Gist and his Virginian Slaves (Hardcover)

The Midas of Manumission: The Orphan Samuel Gist and his Virginian Slaves By Barb Drummond Cover Image
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Samuel Gist was born in Bristol in the early eighteenth century. He was soon orphaned and educated in Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, a local charity school. Apprenticed to a former mayor, he was sent to Virginia to learn the tobacco trade. He was involved with George Washington and Anthony Bacon in the Great Dismal Swamp Company, formed to drain the region but was the only one to make money from it, by providing materials and slaves. Over a long and highly successful business career he owned several ships and made several slave journeys but this was his least successful investment. On the eve of the Revolutionary War he returned to Britain and continued his rise in wealth by trading in stocks and marine insurance in London and investing in property.

His stepsons in Virginia died young, and his 2 daughters married but had no children, so Gist had no male heirs to leave his wealth to, so his passion for making money was not for dynastic reasons. When he died in 1815 he left large sums to charities such as his old school, and to many institutions involved in education and healthcare in London. But he also left money to free his slaves in Virginia and to provide them with education and religious instruction.

Gist's manumission was one of the largest in America's history, and his motives have long been disputed. His former neighbours described him as mean, but his former slaves praised him and his daughters for their kindness, so the man remains an enigma.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781912829057
ISBN-10: 1912829053
Publisher: Barb Drummond
Publication Date: September 24th, 2018
Pages: 224
Language: English