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April 1804

Posted on 24 Apr 2013

In April 1804, the American ship Horizon stopped at the Cape of Good Hope before continuing on its journey home to Charleston with 243 ‘surviving’ Mozambican slaves: countless others had perished on board – a particularly horrific episode in the history of the slave trade.

However, an American newspaper report did not question Captain Alexander M’Clure’s care of the slaves but rather listed the various ‘curiosities’ he had brought back with him, including ‘seeds of useful plants’ and, of course, some wine.

‘The lovers of exquisite wine may now be gratified with a taste of the far famed Constantia wine, which is produced by one Vineyard only at the Cape of Good Hope: Mr M’Clure has a considerable quantity of it: — formerly this delicious juice was nearly wholly engrossed by the Dutch Government, who distributed it in presents to the crowned heads and potentates of Europe: what little was for sale, could not be procured in Amsterdam at a less price than a guinea for a pint bottle.’

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