According to the Maritime Museum website, "the print shows plan and sections of the ‘Vigilante’, indicating the dreadful conditions in which people were transported across the Atlantic Ocean. The ‘Vigilante’ was captured by the Royal Navy off the coast of Africa in 1822, carrying 345 Africans bound for slavery in the Americas. The caption reads: ‘The representation of the brig Vigilante from Nantes, a vessel employed in the slave trade, which was captured by Lieutenant Mildmay, in the River Bonny, on the coast of Africa, on the 15th of April 1822. She was 240 tons burden & had on board, at the time she was taken 345 slaves. The slaves were found lying on their backs on the lower deck, as represented below, those in the centre were sitting some in the posture in which they are shown & others with their legs bent under them, resting upon the soles of their feet’. The Royal Navy squadron that captured the ‘Vigilante’ also seized a further six French and Spanish slave ships in a very successful action. Nantes was the main French slave-trading port. Anti-slavery campaigners used this print to remind the public of how extraordinarily cramped conditions were on slave ships. The image also shows how men and women were segregated on board. The men are shown restrained in pairs with handcuffs and leg-irons."
A large fold out plan of the Vigilante showing cross sections of decks with enslaved captives, irons used, etc. The pamphlet containing this illustration gives background to the ship; also the features shown on the engraving are identified in a table. The male compartment (chambre) of the Vigilante contained 227 persons; 120 were in the female compartment. See image E012 for more details on this illustration. This pamphlet was published in English as Case of the Vigilante: a ship employed in the slave-trade (London,1826).