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Royal Commonwealth Society : Letter from Charles Sparke to his brother Arthur

Sparke, Charles (fl 1640-1660)

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Charles Sparke, formerly ‘citizen and fishmonger of London,’ who had travelled to Barbados in the late 1640s to manage his family’s commercial interests. Sparke did not prosper and in desperation he joined the army raised to attack Spain’s Caribbean colonies. After the conquest of Jamaica in 1655, Sparke stayed, sharing the privation of the garrison which was ravaged by disease and food shortages, and attempted new trading ventures. This letter suggests that by 1659 his prospects had improved, since he sent home ‘one earing of gold with a pendant belonging to it with seven pearls therein… a parrot for my mother… a cake of chocolate, a small sack cup made of a cocoanut shell, also three cocoanuts in the husk.’ Sparke requests a cargo for resale in Jamaica, listing commodities which are in the greatest demand: brandy, flour, butter, oil, shoes, worsted stockings, cheese and packing cloth. He remained on Jamaica until the early 1660s, but his ultimate fate is unknown.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>here</a></p>

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