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Letters provide a rich source of information about the lives of slaves, since owners and prospective buyers often corresponded extensively about their slaves.
These letters from one of the most prominent families of colonial Virginia, describe their slave purchases, problems with runaways, and the importance of tobacco.
Charles Yates was a merchant and planter from Fredericksburg and a member of the town's Committee of Correspondence in 1774. His letters to correspondents elsewhere in Virginia, in the Caribbean and in Britain, show the global dimensions of the tobacco economy and its slave labor force.