Trade and plantations had been in Pinney's lineage starting with his grandfather. Pinney's great grandfather John Pinney was a farmer-preacher who had two sons Nathaniel and Azariah. Nathaniel became a successful merchant and a member of the 'Royal African Company' exporting lace etc. from London to the West Indies. Originally Azariah was condemned to transportation so his brother "bought" him as his agent in the Caribbean. He then became a successful merchant exporting sugar and importing trade goods and plantation equipment.
His son John, Pinney's cousin carried on the business living in the West Indies. Through his cousin Pinney inherited the plantations when he was used to be John Pretor. "My cousin Jn. Frek. Died on the 11th instant and by his will left me Devisee and sole executor. " This source tells us Pinney was the "executor" therefore he changed his name to Pinney carrying on the family name and became a plantation owner thus becoming involved in the slave trade… Pinney was a successful merchant and his wealth drove from the labouring of slaves on his plantations. This is a map of Nevis in Jan 1871:
The map is reliable because it's primary drawn in 1871, I don't' think it's biased because its an informative document and therefore isn't altered as people will go the wrong way. However, I don't think it's very useful because though Pinney is mentioned in the map there is no link to slavery. "The West Indian Fortune" by R. Rogers (1950) is more useful because it tells us that the places on the map are Pinney's plantations, furthermore alternative names are provided which make the plantations more personal. Together they support that Pinney owned plantations.
The map is more reliable and because it's primary, despite the fortune being secondary the map confirms theses sites exist. This proves he had plantations but not slaves. Pinney's attitude to slaves portrays he had them on his plantations. Though Pinney owned slaves he treated the slaves fairly compared to other merchants. He was sympathetic towards them and in 1762 he wrote: – "I hope it unnecessary to recommend to you a mild treatment of my negreos and more especially so at the time of their sickness, a merciful man is so, even to his beast.
How much more then is it incumbent upon us to exercise it upon these creatures, who only want the light of revelation and learning to be on a level with us. " However, this source also that Pinney still sees himself higher addressing them as "creatures" believing "God ordained the for the benefit of us" as he bought 9 slave negreos at St. Kitts. Nevertheless Pinney we now Pinney realized that it is "impossible for a man to make sugar without the assistance of Negreos" therefore Pinney was sensible enough to look after his slaves giving them "simple good nursing, kitchen physic and every Saturday afternoon off".
In return the slaves 'behaved well. " Privileges were given to the slaves but if they were "idle and lazy as to neglect their provision ground, you shall minute down their names and oblige them to work in the field, while the others are laboring from themselves. All these sources have been useful in telling us Pinney had slaves and are reliable as they are primary written in the peak time of the slave trade and furthermore written by Pinney. Another source further suggests that Pinney' slaves were given privileges. It is a letter warning Black Polly she must fulfill her duties as she had not paid towards the "soap and candles sent to her.
" As she has been given the authority to sell the candles so she should sell them otherwise she would "lose the privilege". I think this a reliable source because it's primary and wrote it directly to the slave the slave to make her work. As he didn't write it to an outside person he didn't make himself look kinder or considerate to the slaves then he was. I believe it was written immediately after Black Polly stopped doing her work as being the plantation it was beneficial to him to make her work again. The source could be slightly biased as Pinney wrote he it therefore he could be emphasizing the work Black Polly had not done.
Furthermore, the source tells how Pinney thought a "a good negreo is much more valuable" on the plantations referring to Black Polly's daughter Molly who she was considering sending to school, meaning the slaves did have a choice in how they lived their lives. All these sources on Pinney's attitude are reliable and useful; they tell us Pinney thought it was uneconomical to abuse his slaves as they were valuable in producing sugar. Therefore, he treated them fairly without spending too much on them giving privileges and a chance to live a life.
In return they were expected to be good workers to him. I think Pinney's involvement in the slave trade was more economical rather than cruel. Pinney worked in Nevis through the American War which dislocated the sugar trade until 1778 when he announced he was returning to Bristol to supervise his family. In the Georgian house you can see the Pinney Family Bible which is securely looked away but enclosed is an actual list and details of Pinney's family almost like a record. I have an extract from the book and I as the book still exists I can trust the source is taken from it.
I think the source was written after the event (his children being born) as the book is very neat so Pinney must have planned how to set it out. I think the main clue suggesting that these were Pinney's experiences was that the book is written in the stylish handwriting of the Georgian period so he may have wrote it himself. It's a record of his family so there is no reason for the source to be altered or biased. Furthermore, I know that Pinney moved to Bristol in 1788 that and the source shows his later children "third daughter" and "fourth son" were born in Bristol whereas the others were born in Nevis.
Therefore, I think this primary source is reliable but on it's own it doesn't suggest what effect his involvement with plantations and the slave trade had on his family. On the 31st August 1783 Pinney landed in England and then hurried on to London to meet his family. He was very angry with his father-in-law who bought his children up from Salisbury. "Contrary to my desire and direction between ten and 11'o clock at night he reached our lodgings-was impudent to reach our lodgings to send up my boys without any previous notice.
We didn't know them nor they us: until Mrs. Josiah Nesbit, exclaimed 'Good God! Don't you know them? -They are your children. I was stupefied and remained had it not it been the situation of Mrs. P-it affected her so much she set her head dress in ablaze. " I presume this source is a diary entry by Pinney because it's a diary entry by Pinney; however we don't know where the source is from. If it is a diary entry is reliable because it was written at the time and has no reason to be biased as its an account of his feelings.
It is also useful because this odd episode shows that the children of West Indian planters were kept in England and Mrs. Pinney (daughter of another planter Mr. Week) kept up with the latest fashions with her wealth. It seems Pinney hardly knew his children but he did care for them and may be a reason that was driving him home to England. This useful source can be used to suggest that Pinney moved to England his children being one reason which is why two of his children were born in Bristol as shown by the reliable family bible.