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James Hamilton, 1786-1857
Negro Plot: An Account of the Late Intended Insurrection among a Portion of the Blacks of the City of Charleston, South Carolina
Boston: Printed and Published by Joseph W. Ingraham, 1822.


Negro Plot is the official account published by the city of Charleston of the attempted Denmark Vesey slave insurrection of June 1822. The report describes the events leading up to the discovery of the plan to revolt, and tells how city officials foiled the plan. The slaves who were thought to be involved in the rebellion were arrested and formally charged "with attempting to raise an insurrection among the blacks against the whites" (12). Hamilton, Intendant of Charleston at the time of the uprising, gives a brief account of each of the trials. Of the one hundred and thirty-one slaves arrested, thirty-five were executed and thirty-seven were exiled from the United States (29). In the appendices, Hamilton presents some of the direct testimonies and confessions of the charged slaves, as well as charts which indicate their names, their owner's names, and the verdicts administered by the court. The confessions offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of African Americans in Charleston in the 1820s.

Brent Kinser

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