Hugh Hall (1693-1773), son of the Hon. Hugh Hall of Barbados, was a graduate of Harvard College (1713) and a commission merchant in Boston. This account book lists in detail goods imported and exported for his employers in Barbados: fish, furniture, candles, oil, corn, wine, soap, and slaves, among other items. The account book also lists sales of "bag hollands," "garlettes," and other textiles, as well as personal expenses incurred for the upkeep of family members in Barbados.
It appears from the book that Hall imported slaves into the Massachusetts Bay Province from Barbados, and often subsequently sold them out of the Province to other colonies. This was probably a way of avoiding the duty imposed by the law of 1705-06 on imported slaves. If a slave died within six weeks of importation, or was sold out of the colony within a year, the importer could recover the ?4 tax (Lorenzo Johnston Greene, The Negro in Colonial New England, New York, 1968, page. 52). See especially page 6 of the account book: "Memo to get Certificates for ye following Negro's Ship'd out of ye. Province..." Hall probably needed the certificates for proof to avoid the tax. He also noted in the account book when a slave died, for the same reasons. Entries with references to the trading of slaves are on pages 5, 6, 8, 9, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 34, 35, and 36.