During the mid-18th century, the Templar Order ran a slavery operation on the island, preparing for an expedition to Chichen Itza in Mexico. In 1751, the Templar John Harrison visited the island and wrote a letter to Reginald Birch, Grand Master of the British Rite.
In the letter, he advised that the Order cease all operations on Gorée, due to its proximity to the major trading centres Saint-Louis in Senegal and Gambia. He also explained that exagerrated reports of slavery on Gorée had begun to circulate, potentially exposing the Templars to their enemies. Harrison suggested that the Order acquire slaves from the French and Spanish colonies in the Caribbean instead.