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Letter, Joseph Bruin to John Augustine Washington III, 1845 August 8

 Item — Box: 66, Folder: 1845.08.08
Identifier: 2017-SC-010-004

Scope and Contents

Letter from Alexandria slave dealer Joseph Bruin of the firm Bruin and Hill to John Augustine Washington III regarding an enslaved man named Gabriel who escaped from Mount Vernon and is now being held at Bruin's Slave Jail. Bruin writes, "I have to inform you of what I am willing to pay for your man now in my Jail we will give you $565 neat for him at this time if the prices should improve we are willing to pay what ever the prices may be but when you come down I am inclined to think we can trade if you wish to replace him you can inquire of others what he is worth to satisfy your self about his worth he is 5 feet 5 inches he's well formed but has some scars on his back also 2 scars from burns on his arms which are mear eye sore but dont disable him in the smallest degree. He's a very desirable negro - to those wishing to purchase. I have 2 or 3 more at this time that possibly will suit you they are young and likely and not sold for any fault."

Bruin's Slave Jail was famously featured in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.


  • 1845 August 8


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research during scheduled appointments. Researchers must complete the Washington Library’s Special Collections and Archives Registration Form before access is provided. The library reserves the right to restrict access to certain items for preservation purposes.


From the Collection: approx. 60 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections at The George Washington Presidential Library at Mount Vernon Repository

PO Box 3600
Mount Vernon VA 22121