"Is it a Cargo of Slaves?" - New York Tribune

"Is it a Cargo of Slaves?" - New York Tribune

"A Brig with 300 Gilbert Islanders in her hold near San Francisco"

by: | publication date: September 8, 1891 | Publication: The New York Tribune | pages: 1

San Francisco, Sept. 7 (Special). - Much interest is taken here in the brig Tahiti, which is now lying in Drake's Bay, near here, with 300 Gilbert Islanders in the hold. The vessel is American, yet she is engaged in carrying these islanders to San Benito, Mexico, to work on coffee plantations. Captain Fergusen explains that his human cargo was secured by legitimate contract, and that when their period of service is completed the Mexican Government agrees to return them to their homes.

The Tahiti, a blackbirding vessel carrying nearly 300 Pacific Island laborers, docked in a San Francisco-area bay attracting much attention to the question of whether or not such laborers were virtually slaves.